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article imageJudge in Pirate Bay case member of copyright group, retrial demanded

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By KJ Mullins     Apr 24, 2009 in Business
Last week four men from were convicted for helping others commit copyright infringement violates in Stockholm. It now has been revealed that the judge on the case is a member of two Swedish copyright groups.
Pirate Bay's four top men were sentenced to a year in prison and a combined fine of $3.6 million fine.
Peter Althin, lawyer of Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde in the case, has stated that he will be going for a retrial after Swedish Radio confirmed that Judge Tomos Norstrom was a member of The Swedish Association for Copyright and a board member of the Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Property.
Three of those who represented the music industry were also members of one of the copyright groups.
All of the defendants in the case are expected to appeal the district court's verdict on Friday. It is likely that a request for a retrial will be included in the appeal request.
AP reports that the lawyer had not been aware of the possible conflict of interest until now:
"This is completely new to me. It is reasonable that we should have known about this before," Althin told The Associated Press. "It is a clear case of bias."
Althin may very well be able to get a retrial if the past is an indicator reports The Local.
"In the autumn I received information that a lay judge could have similar connections. I sent these to the court and the judge was excluded in order to prevent a conflict of interest. It would have been reasonable to then review this situation as well," Althin said.
Ola Samuelsson who represents Gottfried Svartholm Warg is also considering the same motion for his client.
"All types of interest conflicts are a problem for the judiciary. It should be a matter of course as a judge to ensure that you keep your house in order. This is a high profile case and that is an additional reason to keep a check," Samuelsson said.
Pirate Party chairman Rickard Falkvinge has been quoted as saying that the copyright lobby has brought corruption to Sweden.
Judge Norstrom has stated that just because he's part of the copyright groups does not mean that he was swayed during the trial.
"My view has been that these activities do not constitute a conflict of interest," Norström told Sveriges Radio.
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