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Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   The debate flew forward, changing and growing, and expanding beyond

   Britain's borders. In Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post asked,

   `Is [this] case evidence of a new social phenomenon, with immature and

   susceptible minds being damaged through prolonged exposure to personal

   computers?' The paper described public fear that Wandii's case would

   result in `the green light for an army of computer-literate hooligans

   to pillage the world's databases at will, pleading insanity when

   caught'.11

  

   By April Fool's Day 1991, more than two weeks after the end of the

   court case, Wandii had his own syndrome named after him, courtesy of

   The Guardian.

  

   And while Wandii, his mother and his team of lawyers celebrated their

   victory quietly, the media reported that the Scotland Yard detectives

   commiserated over their defeat, which was considerably more serious

   than simply losing the Wandii case. The Computer Crimes Unit was being

   `reorganised'. Two experienced officers from the five-man unit were

   being moved out of the group. The official line was that the

   `rotations' were normal Scotland Yard procedure. The unofficial word

   was that the Wandii case had been a fiasco, wasting time and money,

   and the debacle was not to be repeated.

  

   In the north, a dark cloud gathered over Pad and Gandalf as their

   judgment day approached. The Wandii case verdict might have been cause

   for celebration among some in the computer underground, but it brought

   little joy for the other two 8lgm hackers.

  

   For Pad and Gandalf, who had already pleaded guilty, Wandii's

   acquittal was a disaster.

 

                            [ ]

  

   On 12 May 1993, two months after Wandii's acquittal, Boris Kayser

   stood up at the Bar table to put forward Electron's case at the

   Australian hacker's plea and sentencing hearing. As he began to speak,

   a hush fell over the Victorian County Court.

  

   A tall, burly man with a booming voice, an imperious courtroom

   demeanour and his traditional black robes flowing behind him in an

   echo of his often emphatic gesticulations, Kayser was larger than

   life. A master showman, he knew how to play an audience of courtroom

   journalists sitting behind him as much as to the judge in front of

   him.

  

   Electron had already stood in the dock and pleaded guilty to fourteen

   charges, as agreed with the DPP's office. In typical style, Kayser had

   interrupted the long process of the court clerk reading out each

   charge and asking whether Electron would plead guilty or not guilty.

   With an impatient wave of his hand, Kayser asked the judge to dispense

   with such formalities since his client would plead guilty to all the

   agreed charges at once. The interjection was more of an announcement

   than a question.

  

   The formalities of a plea having been summarily dealt with, the

   question now at hand was sentencing. Electron wondered if he would be

   sent to prison. Despite lobbying from Electron's lawyers, the DPP's

   office had refused to recommend a non-custodial sentence. The best

   deal Electron's lawyers had been able to arrange in exchange for

   turning Crown witness was for the DPP to remain silent on the issue of