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   Wandii's defence team gave the jury a reason to acquit the

   innocent-faced young man sitting before them.

  

   During the trial, the media focused on Wandii, but didn't completely

   ignore the other two hackers. Computer Weekly hunted down where

   Gandalf was working and laid it bare on the front page. A member of

   `the UK's most notorious hacking gang', the journal announced, had

   been working on software which would be used at Barclay's Bank.7 The

   implication was clear. Gandalf was a terrible security risk and should

   never be allowed to do any work for a financial institution. The

   report irked the hackers, but they tried to concentrate on preparing

   for their sentencing hearing.

  

   From the beginning of their case, the hackers had problems obtaining

   certain evidence. Pad and Gandalf believed some of the material seized

   in the police raids would substantially help their case--such as

   messages from admins thanking them for pointing out security holes on

   their systems. This material had not been included in the

   prosecution's brief. When the defendants requested access to it, they

   were refused access on the grounds that there was classified data on

   the optical disk. They were told to go read the Attorney-General's

   guidelines on disclosure of information. The evidence of the hackers'

   forays into military and government systems was jumbled in with their

   intrusions into computers such as benign JANET systems, the defence

   team was told. It would take too much time to separate the two.

  

   Eventually, after some wrangling, Pad and Gandalf were told they could

   inspect and copy material--provided it was done under the supervision

   of the police. The hackers travelled to London, to Holborn police

   station, to gather supporting evidence for their case. However, it

   soon became clear that this time-consuming exercise would be

   impossible to manage on an ongoing basis. Finally, the Crown

   Prosecution Service relented, agreeing to release the material on disk

   to Pad's solicitor, on the proviso that no copies were made, it did

   not leave the law office, and it was returned at the end of the trial.

  

   As Wandii's case lurched from revelation to exaggeration, Pad and

   Gandalf busily continued to prepare for their own sentencing hearing.

   Every day, Gandalf travelled from Liverpool to Manchester to meet with

   his friend. They picked up a handful of newspapers at the local agent,

   and then headed up to Pad's lawyer's office. After a quick scan for

   articles covering the hacking case, the two hackers began sifting

   through the reluctantly released prosecution disks. They read through

   the material on computer, under the watchful eye of the law office's

   cashier--the most computer literate person in the firm.

  

   After fifteen days in the Southwark courtroom listening to fantastic

   stories from both sides about the boy sitting before them, the jury in

   Wandii's trial retired to consider the evidence. Before they left,

   Judge Harris gave them a stern warning: the argument that Wandii was

   obsessed or dependent was not a defence against the charges.

  

   It took the jurors only 90 minutes to reach a decision, and when the

   verdict was read out the courtroom erupted with a wave of emotion.

  

   Not guilty. On all counts.

  

   Wandii's mother burst into a huge smile and turned to her son, who was

   also smiling. And the defence team couldn't be happier. Kelman told

   journalists, `The jury felt this was a sledge hammer being used to