A Landmark Kodi Box Trial Has Been Cancelled After the Defendant Changed his Plea

By Tom Pritchard on at

You might recognise the name Brian Thompson if you were paying attention to Kodi news about a year ago. He was the first person in the UK to be prosecuted for selling those 'fully-loaded' Kodi boxes' you've been hearing so much about, and was set to go on trial to determine his whether he was guilty or innocent. Now, though, according to TorrentFreak, that landmark trial has been cancelled, because Thompson changed his plea to guilty.

The trial was set to be the first of its kind, since Thompson would have been the first person to fight changes of "circumvention of effective technological measures". If you don't speak legalese, the law explains is like so:

"A person commits an offence if he — in the course of a business — sells or lets for hire, any device, product or component which is primarily designed, produced, or adapted for the purpose of enabling or facilitating the circumvention of effective technological measures."

Basically by selling Kodi boxes that let people access premium content free of charge, prosecutors claim he was breaking this particular law. The law hadn't been tested in cases related to Kodi and IPTV piracy, meaning the outcome of the now-cancelled trial would have set a precedent for future prosecutions.

Thompson had initially declared that he hadn't done anything wrong, and would fight the charges against him, saying, "all I want to know is whether I am doing anything illegal. I know it’s a grey area but I want it in black and white." He entered his original plea back in January, where he pleaded not guilty to two offences under section 296ZB of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. That's the bit of the law I mentioned earlier.

But Thompson appears to have changed his mind, appearing in front of a judge at Teeside Crown Court and changing his plea to guilty on both counts. Gazette Live reports that defence barrister Paul Fleming told the court there had been "an exchange of correspondence" with relation to the case and that "there is a proposal in relation to pleas which are acceptable to the prosecution."

Beyond that there aren't any specific details on why Thompson changed his plea.

The judge has adjourned the case until 20th October to allow for a pre-sentence report to be prepared. Meanwhile Thompson's bail has been renewed, though the judge warned him that the renewal should not be taken as any indication to what sort of sentencing that will be passed. He'll be sentenced on the same day as Julian Allen, the owner of GeekyKit.com. [Gazette Live via TorrentFreak]