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   professor had been part of a team which wrote the World Health

   Organisation's definition of addiction. No-one was going to question

   his qualifications.

  

   The professor had examined Wandii and he announced his conclusion to

   the court: Wandii was obsessed by computers, he was unable to stop

   using them, and his infatuation made it impossible for him to choose

   freely. `He repeated 12 times in police interviews, "I'm just

   addicted. I wish I wasn't",' Griffith-Edwards told the court. Wandii

   was highly intelligent, but was unable to escape from the urge to beat

   computers' security systems at their own game. The hacker was obsessed

   by the intellectual challenge. `This is the core ... of what attracts

   the compulsive gambler,' the professor explained to the entranced jury

   of three women and nine men.

  

   But Wandii, this obsessive, addicted, gifted young man, had never had

   a girlfriend, Griffith-Edwards continued. In fact, he shyly admitted

   to the professor that he wouldn't even know how to ask a girl out. `He

   [Wandii] became profoundly embarrassed when asked to talk about his

   own feelings. He simply couldn't cope when asked what sort of person

   he was.'6

  

   People in the jury edged forward in their seats, concentrating

   intently on the distinguished professor. And why wouldn't they? This

   was amazing stuff. This erudite man had delved inside the mind of the

   young man of bizarre contrasts. A man so sophisticated that he could

   pry open computers belonging to some of Britain's and Europe's most

   prestigious institutions, and yet at the same time so simple that he

   had no idea how to ask a girl on a date. A man who was addicted not to

   booze, smack or speed, which the average person associates with

   addiction, but to a computer--a machine most people associated with

   kids' games and word processing programs.

  

   The defence proceeded to present vivid examples of Wandii's addiction.

   Wandii's mother, a single parent and lecturer in English, had terrible

   trouble trying to get her son away from his computer and modem. She

   tried hiding his modem. He found it. She tried again, hiding it at his

   grandmother's house. He burgled granny's home and retrieved it. His

   mother tried to get at his computer. He pushed her out of his attic

   room and down the stairs.

  

   Then he ran up a [sterling]700 phone bill as a result of his hacking.

   His mother switched off the electricity at the mains. Her son

   reconnected it. She installed a security calling-code on the phone to

   stop him calling out. He broke it. She worried he wouldn't go out and

   do normal teenage things. He continued to stay up all night--and

   sometimes all day--hacking. She returned from work to find him

   unconscious--sprawled across the living room floor and looking as

   though he was dead. But it wasn't death, only sheer exhaustion. He

   hacked until he passed out, then he woke up and hacked some more.

  

   The stories of Wandii's self-confessed addiction overwhelmed, appalled

   and eventually engendered pity in the courtroom audience. The media

   began calling him `the hermit hacker'.

  

   Wandii's defence team couldn't fight the prosecution's

   evidence head-on, so they took the prosecution's evidence and claimed

   it as their own. They showed the jury that Wandii hadn't just hacked

   the institutions named by the prosecution; he had hacked far, far more

   than that. He didn't just hack a lot--he hacked too much. Most of all,