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   good news for him, but somehow it felt like a hollow victory.

  

   Prime Suspect has destroyed our friendship, he thought, and all for

   nothing.

  

   Two months after Prime Suspect's sentencing, Trax appeared in another

   County Court room to receive his sentence after pleading guilty to six

   counts of hacking and phreaking. Despite taking medication to keep his

   anxiety under control while in the city, he was still very nervous in

   the dock.

  

   Since he faced the least number of charges of any of the IS hackers,

   Trax believed he had a shot at no recorded conviction. Whether or not

   his lawyer could successfully argue the case was another matter.

   Bumbling through papers he could never seem to organise, Trax's lawyer

   rambled to the court, repeated the same points over and over again,

   jumping all over the place in his arguments. His voice was a

   half-whispered rasp--a fact which so annoyed the judge that he sternly

   instructed the lawyer to speak up.

  

   Talking informally before court, Geoff Chettle had told Mendax that in

   his view there was no way Judge Mervyn Kimm would let Trax off with no

   recorded conviction. Judge Kimm was considered to be one tough nut to

   crack. If you were a bookmaker running bets on his court at a

   sentencing hearing, the good money would be on the prosecution's side.

  

   But on 20 September 1995, the judge showed he couldn't be predicted

   quite so easily. Taking everything into account, including Prime

   Suspect's sentence and Trax's history of mental illness, he ordered no

   conviction be recorded against Trax. He also ordered a $500 three-year

   good behaviour bond.

  

   In passing sentence, Judge Kimm said something startlingly insightful

   for a judge with little intimate knowledge of the hacker psyche. While

   sternly stating that he did not intend to make light of the gravity of

   the offences, he told the court that `the factors of specific

   deterrence and general deterrence have little importance in the

   determination of the sentence to be imposed'. It was perhaps the first

   time an Australian judge had recognised that deterrence had little

   relevance at the point of collision between hacking and mental

   illness.

  

   Trax's sentence was also a good outcome for Mendax, who on

   29 August 1995 pleaded guilty to eight counts of computer crime, and

   not guilty to all the other charges. Almost a year later, on 9 May

   1996, he pleaded guilty to an additional eleven charges, and not

   guilty to six. The prosecution dropped all the other charges.

  

   Mendax wanted to fight those six outstanding charges, which involved

   ANU, RMIT, NorTel and Telecom, because he felt that the law was on his

   side in these instances. In fact, the law was fundamentally unclear

   when it came to those charges. So much so that the DPP and the defence

   agreed to take issues relating to those charges in a case stated to

   the Supreme Court of Victoria.

  

   In a case stated, both sides ask the Supreme Court to make a ruling

   not on the court case itself, but on a point of law. The defence and

   the prosecution hammer out an agreed statement about the facts of the

   case and, in essence, ask the Supreme Court judges to use that

   statement as a sort of case study. The resulting ruling is meant to