This is currently a breaking story, so we don’t have a lot of detail right now, but Pirate Bay defendant Peter Sunde has accused the judge in the Pirate Bay case, Tomas Norström, of bias. He made the accusations on Twitter, claiming “the #spectrial judge seems to be working within the copyright lobby”.
Swedish news sources claim that the judge is a member of a couple of organizations that might have compromised his neutrality in the case. Firstly the Swedish Copyright Association (SFU) and secondly, the Swedish Association for Industrial Property. The former body also counts rights holders’ lawyers Henrik Pontén, Peter Danowsky and Monique Wadsted, and the latter pushes for stronger copyright.
It’s unlikely that this could have a effect on the trial, as it’s come to light after the judgement has been passed. The Pirate Bay’s lawyers have had ample opportunity to raise this. It does mean, however, that the verdict of the promised appeal could turn out very different.
Several law sources have criticized the judge for taking the case under these circumstances, but the judge has resisted pressure, saying; “My view has been that these activities do not constitute a conflict of interest”.
Eric Bylander, Associate Professor of Procedural Law at the School of Gothenburg, disagrees, saying that in such a high-profile case the judge should have been more careful. Peter Sunde is promising more detail later on today, so keep an eye on this developing story.
Updated: Some quotes from thelocal.se:
“A retrial is a possibility, but in that case the lawyers will have to take this up immediately” – High profile lawyer Leif Silbersky
“The copyright lobby has really managed to bring corruption to Sweden” – Pirate Party chairman Rickard Falkvinge