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   Day, a short, careful man who gave off an air of bottled intensity,

   seemed to have an acute dislike for Phoenix. By all observations the

   feeling was mutual. A cool-headed professional, Day would never say

   anything in public to express the dislike--that was not his style. His

   dislike was only indicated by a slight tightness in the muscles of an

   otherwise unreadable face.

  

   On 6 October 1993, Phoenix and Nom stood side by side in the dock for

   sentencing. Wearing a stern expression, Judge Smith began by detailing

   both the hackers' charges and the origin of The Realm. But after the

   summary, the judge saved his harshest rebuke for Phoenix.

  

   `There is nothing ... to admire about your conduct and every reason

   why it should be roundly condemned. You pointed out [weaknesses] to

   some of the system administrators ... [but] this was more a display of

   arrogance and a demonstration of what you thought was your superiority

   rather than an act of altruism on your part.

  

   `You ... bragged about what you had done or were going to do ... Your

   conduct revealed ... arrogance on your part, open defiance, and an

   intention to the beat the system. [You] did cause havoc for a time

   within the various targeted systems.'

  

   Although the judge appeared firm in his views while passing sentence,

   behind the scenes he had agonised greatly over his decision. He had

   attempted to balance what he saw as the need for deterrence, the

   creation of a precedence for sentencing hacking cases in Australia,

   and the individual aspects of this case. Finally, after sifting

   through the arguments again and again, he had reached a decision.

  

   `I have no doubt that some sections of our community would regard

   anything than a custodial sentence as less than appropriate. I share

   that view. But after much reflection ... I have concluded that an

   immediate term of imprisonment is unnecessary.'

  

   Relief rolled across the faces of the hackers' friends and relatives

   as the judge ordered Phoenix to complete 500 hours of community

   service work over two years and assigned him a $1000 twelve-month good

   behaviour bond. He gave Nom 200 hours, and a $500, six-month bond for

   good behaviour.

  

   As Phoenix was leaving the courtroom, a tall, skinny young man, loped

   down the aisle towards him.

  

   `Congratulations,' the stranger said, his long hair dangling in

   delicate curls around his shoulders.

  

   `Thanks,' Phoenix answered, combing his memory for the boyish face

   which couldn't be any older than his own. `Do I know you?'

  

   `Sort of,' the stranger answered. `I'm Mendax. I'm about to go through

   what you did, but worse.'