Thursday 24 December 2015
Adam Bennett, aka “Lorax,” was arrested in May, 2014, during the same time period that other members of Anonymous is Australia were arrested: Mathew Hutchison (aka Rax) and Justin Soyke (aka Juzzy, Absantos, etc.). Information on Bennett’s case was difficult to obtain as the prosecution kept changing the charges.
The Cryptosphere reports elsewhere that a plea deal of sorts has been reached and sentencing will be in March 2016. A different source, who also declined to be named or quoted directly, said that 22 charges have been winnowed down due to lack of evidence. Australia does not have plea deals in the US sense, but it’s not uncommon for many charges to be thrown out or dropped in the course of court proceedings.
Who has spoken directly with Adam and his wife, many of the 22 charges Adam faced were thrown out due to lack of evidence. There was no plea deal. Adam pleaded guilty to six remaining charges where the evidence against him made it likely he would be convicted if he went to trial. Five of those charges were for being complicit to a crime, and one related to when he pentested his employer’s system for the Heartbleed vulnerability.
Being complicit to a crime, while serious, is a lot less serious than the original charges he faced, and it suggests that again, the prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to make any more serious charge stick.
The last charge, related to the pentesting, seems outrageous not only to Adam’s many supporters, but to security professionals who would like to see more employees testing their employer’s system for vulnerabilities.
In honour of his long service and high standing in Anonymous as the radio host who brought the world together, AnonymousVideo honored him with a tribute video, pointing out that within the Hive, his role was largely that of a journalist, and should be protected. The video features remarks by American lawyer and firebrand Stanley Cohen himself released just a few days ago from prison.