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Proceeds of crime order of...

Byline: GARETH LIGHTFOOT @GazetteCourt

FORMER Kodi box trader Brian Thompson has been given a proceeds of crime order - of one pound. Thompson, 55, hit the headlines when he ended up in the dock for selling TV boxes that allowed free access to premium content like movies and sports.

Now he has made another court appearance under the Proceeds of Crime Act, legislation designed to remove cash and assets gained from crime. In a short hearing, it was agreed the businessman made PS38,500 from criminal activity, but he had no available assets.

So he was ordered to pay a nominal sum of PS1 to the state.

The authorities can still pursue Thompson for more of the PS38,500 "benefit" sum if they learn he has more money or assets.

Judge Simon Hickey made the confiscation order, saying: "If anything changes in the future, for instance if you win the lottery, it might come back."

Thompson was given an 18-month prison sentence suspended for two years at Teesside Crown Court last October.

At that hearing, the court heard how Thompson's business, then named Free TV Stream Box, was searched in Middlesbrough's Dundas Arcade on June 8, 2015.

Thompson claimed ignorance of the law and said he believed he had done nothing wrong.

He moved his retail premises and business name to Cut Price Tomo's TVs on Parliament Road and continued advertising fully loaded devices for sale on social media.

He communicated on Facebook with consumers, saying: "You get all the movies, every film and box set ever made, even ones at the cinema.

"Just plug in and play. 100% legal."

At that time, the prosecution suggested Thompson made about PS40,000 from the box sales, but could not put a firm figure on how many were sold.

The boxes themselves are not illegal, but it is illegal to sell them "preloaded" with the capability of accessing copyrighted material.

The prosecution said there was nothing illegal about streaming devices, known as Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), as long as they are only used to access freely available, licensed or legally owned content. They become illegal if they are designed, produced or adapted to gain unauthorised access to copyright content and subscription services like Sky and BT Sport.

Thompson, of Barnaby Avenue, Middlesbrough, admitted selling and advertising devices "designed, produced or adapted for the purpose of enabling or facilitating the circumvention of effective technological measures".

Sentencing last year, Judge Peter Armstrong told him: "If anyone was under any illusion as to whether such devices as these, fully loaded Kodi boxes, were illegal or not, they can no longer be in any such doubt.

"Not only have the courts in this country ruled as such, but Europe also has ruled that such devices are illegal. Ignorance of the law is no excuse."

At sentencing, it was said Thompson would be given a nominal proceeds of crime order as he was "impecunious".

He since opened a home goods store - Cut Price Tomo's Bargain Warehouse - on Parliament Road and said: "I'm cut-price Tomo and I'm back in town."


It was agreed Brian Thompson had no available assets ian cooper

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 8, 2018
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