Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

'G20 Geek' Byron Sonne Cleared of Explosives Charges

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the didn't-have-to-pull-a-dufresne dept.

Canada 278

New submitter davegravy writes "Byron Sonne, the Toronto-based security consultant, chemistry hobbyist, and geek who was arrested leading up to the Toronto G-20 for alleged plans to bomb the event, has been found not guilty of all charges. Sonne was held in prison for 11 months without receiving bail, and the ruling comes two years after his arrest. Sonne is considered by many in the Toronto security community as a champion of civil rights and a sharp critic of security theatre."

cancel ×

278 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Unfair (5, Insightful)

Terry Pearson (935552) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008577)

Those who oppose security theater are often it's first victims.

Re:Unfair (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009129)

The problem is even with resistance like this, the next step is to cripple education, more than it already is, so that knowledge is less of a threat to the family dynasties which are in place.

Re:Unfair (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009327)

Those who oppose learning the difference between its and it is are often the apostrophe's first victims.

Re:Unfair (5, Interesting)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009463)

What I want to know is, where is /. user "Americano" now?

He was all over the original story of the arrest, stating that Sonne must have done something wrong, because the police don't arrest people for no reason.

Choice quotes include:

Think of the black eye to Canada (and especially their law enforcement), if this were shown to be trumped up charges over a guy with a cell phone, a can of gas in his garage, and a couple walkie talkies? They'd be laughed at as a bunch of Keystone Kops for years over this.

and

Your scenario, where it's just a bunch of crooked cops looking to railroad some guy for a crime he didn't commit, while no doubt appealing to the "IANAL, but I play one on Slashdot!" crowd, simply doesn't pass the test of logic. It would require dozens, perhaps hundreds, of law enforcement and judiciary personnel to be corrupt to the point of downright evil in order for that to happen. Is it *possible*? Sure, just about anything is. But it's not *likely* that that many people would wake up and, in the midst of Canada being in an international press spotlight, decide to ruin someone's life just for the fun of it.

I guess he's not here, because he doesn't want to be laughed at like a bunch of Keystone Kops......

Re:Unfair (4, Insightful)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009567)

It would require dozens, perhaps hundreds, of law enforcement and judiciary personnel to be corrupt to the point of downright evil in order for that to happen.

Never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.

Could have been worse... (4, Interesting)

mindwhip (894744) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008583)

At least he got a trial.

Re:Could have been worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40008667)

Don't be silly. Those whom you are thinking of are enjoying a nice "vacation" on a sunny tropical island.

Re:Could have been worse... (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008709)

At least he got a trial.

Yeah. In Canada. Meanwhile, next door [theatlantic.com] ...

Re:Could have been worse... (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008929)

Oh, don't worry - even the guys in Gitmo get trials. If they're found guilty, they're either executed or locked up forever. If they're found not guilty, they go back into prison until the prosecution finds something else to charge them with. It's completely fair!

Re:Could have been worse... (-1, Troll)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009933)

Why should anyone in Gitmo get a trial? I never understood where that was coming from. POWs don't get trials, because they're not charged with any crime. Treaty law from time immemorial though the Geneva convention holds that capured bandits (the tradition term for "unlawful combatants") have no rights at all - shoot them out of hand, torture them for your amusement, whatever. Governments the world over all agree that only governments have the right to field armies, and take a very low view of anyone who takes up military arms without a uniform and reporting structure tied to civilian authority.

IMO, the legitimate complaint about Gitmo is that we need some more formal process for releasing captured unlawful combatants over time. As there's no structured war here the end of which would mark the time to release POWs, we need to do something as time drags on.

Re:Could have been worse... (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40010121)

Either they're civilians or they're POWs either way there are rules that we need to be following. This "they're enemy combatants" is basically a way of saying "they have no rights, not even the ones what we all got together and agreed that everyone has. We will do whatever we want with them; torture, endless imprisonment, sexual and religious humiliation, it doesn't matter because we have declared that the rules don't apply to them. It's bullshit. It's the kind of thing that America (home of the free) is supposed to be better than and it makes me personally ashamed of how my nation is treating human beings.

Re:Could have been worse... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40010203)

Show me where the Geneva convention says that it's ok to torture unlawful combatants or anyone for that matter.

Governments the world over all agree that only governments have the right to field armies, and take a very low view of anyone who takes up military arms without a uniform and reporting structure tied to civilian authority.

Of course governments agree that only governments should be allowed to have armies. I'm not sure what that proves except that governments want to stay in power. By your definition anyone in a rebel army would be considered an unlawful combatants and it would therefore be ok to torture them.

Re:Could have been worse... (5, Insightful)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 2 years ago | (#40010331)

Prisoners of War (soldiers) get released at the end of the war, not these guys. Civilians get charged in a civilian court with civilian rules and lawyers, not these guys. If you want to criticize China and Iran for this sort of horror you should avoid doing it yourself.

Re:Could have been worse... (5, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40010403)

Everyone has human rights. That's why they are called human rights, all humans have them.

You can call them "unlawful combatants" but they are either civilian criminals or POWs. Not giving them any rights, torturing and treating them as sub human just shames yourselves.

Re:Could have been worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40010147)

Oh, don't worry - even the guys in Gitmo get trials. If they're found guilty, they're either executed or locked up forever. If they're found not guilty, they go back into prison until the prosecution finds something else to charge them with. It's completely fair!

Yep, imagine what would happen if we had a guy claiming to be a Constitutional law professor run for President.

He'd call it what it is - completely unconstitutional - and close it down the moment he won.

Right?

Umm, not so fast.

We now have two choices: Gitmo is NOT unconstitutional, or Barack Obama is a demagogue and lying sack of shit.

Re:Could have been worse... (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40010409)

We now have two choices: Gitmo is NOT unconstitutional, or Barack Obama is a demagogue and lying sack of shit.

I can't believe I'm about to defend Barack Obama, but...

His hands are kind of tied. He's not emperor, you know. Whether he thinks it is constitutional or not has very little bearing on his ability to do anything about it. He's not allowed to move them to the US, and he can't send them to other countries. So what is he supposed to do?

How does it work in this case? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40008591)

do they pay you back for time served? do you get a rain check?

Re:How does it work in this case? (5, Interesting)

sgrover (1167171) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008679)

Worse yet. They destroyed his life as he knew it. He lost his house, job, and wife on top of 2 years of unfounded persecution. Yes, persecution.

If you read the reports of the court proceedings (https://github.com/colah/ByronTrialNotes) it is very alarming how technologically inept the authorities were in this case and how they ignored Occam's Razor to nail this guy. And these are the people that judge and impose laws on us techies. EXTREMELY worrying.

Re:How does it work in this case? (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008855)

The legal system is a street gang. They are allowed to run rampant, and when they "accidentally" do this to an innocent person they are not liable for anything at all.

The Legal system should be required to pay for 2X the actual damages caused for every innocent person railroaded. Sat in jail for 3 years and lost your job? If you made $50K a year, you get $100K for every year you would have had that job. so call it a cool $20 million that is tax free and call it fair.

On top of this, law enforcement found to have been overzealous lose their jobs and are personally liable. Cops need to be afraid of making a mistake.

Re:How does it work in this case? (4, Interesting)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009113)

I sort of agree and sort of disagree.

Should the police be afraid of making mistakes? Depends on the mistake.

If they cause grievous harm to someone - yes, that they should be afraid of. Arresting someone who is innocent or is later found not guilty - no.

The prosecutors, however, should be held to a much higher standard, as they are the ones who are ultimately responsible. I.e. if they don't feel a case is strong enough, they'll have to release the suspect.

And in cases like this, where someone is found not guilty after having spent 11 months in jail, I wouldn't mind seeing the prosecutor responsible spend, say half that time behind bars for contempt of court or something. No regular income etc. (i.e. they don't get to simply sit in a cell and collect an income from the state).

Not in every single case, but if it could be codified in a reasonable way, it would certainly make railroading a lot less interesting for the prosecution. I mean - it's one thing to lose a case, but losing a case AND having to spend time in jail? Very unlikely that prosecutors will be willing to risk that simply because of political pressure.

Re:How does it work in this case? (5, Insightful)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009473)

it would certainly make railroading a lot less interesting for the prosecution

I think you would find just the opposite. If the prosecutor faced jail time for losing a case, he or she would probably go to more extreme lengths to insure a conviction.

Re:How does it work in this case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009709)

Sorry to say but for people who spend 20 years in death row neither the police or prosecutor ever get even a slap on the hand. Welcome to reality.

This guy to me got lucky he is not spending the next 10 years plus waiting for a court date. I am sure as the years continue things like will happen more and more and become even more of the norm.

Re:How does it work in this case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40010251)

Why is it the prosecutor that is responsible? Isn't it there job to prosecute?

It seems to me that it it the judge that is ultimately responsible for a fair, reasonable trial.

Re:How does it work in this case? (5, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008869)

The prosecutors weren't inept. They knew exactly what they were doing and have managed to pull it off brilliantly.

They wanted to make an example of him and scare anyone else from even thinking about talking against the government.

They didn't need to win, they just needed to drag things out and hurt the guy as much as possible. The more inept the acted the better off they could do that.

Re:How does it work in this case? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009303)

The first thing Sonna said after how happy he is to be free, is that he's going to keep doing the same sorts of things that got him in trouble. And he's also suing the government. It doesn't sound to me like the prosecutors were particularly brilliant in their making an example of him.

Re:How does it work in this case? (2)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009395)

Your logic is weak. They don't care about him or what he'll do. Look what every single article about this says: the guys life was destroyed. That was the message, "You mess with us and we'll destroy your life, enjoy picking up the pieces."

That is the message they sent to all the other people who may have considered talking out against the government. "Do so at your own peril, this is not a free society, step out of line and we'll bash your knees in."

Maybe he'll win some money or maybe he won't but the fear has been spread. Most people won't wish to spend 2+ years in hell (or worse, the government will learn from this) and losing everything they value (especially if they have kids).

Re:How does it work in this case? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009753)

Your logic is weak. There's just as good of a chance that people will see this and think "The government is going too far, and I need to do help fight this." The type of people who see this and think "Well, I don't want *that* to happen to me, so I'll let the government do whatever it wants." are the kind of people who only would have joined in after the real difference-makers had done their job anyway. The people who really are willing to fight for change will see Sonne as an inspiration, especially because he's continuing the fight.

Re:How does it work in this case? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40010459)

There's just as good of a chance that people will see this and think "The government is going too far, and I need to do help fight this."

That worked out well in 1933 in Germany. The decent German folk rose up and fought down the rising oppression of the Nazi party and restored the democratic government of the Wiemar Republic.

(Yes, I just Godwinned this discussion, and by God, it's applicable and on-topic. So there.)

Some people just don't want to believe the lessons taught by history, and summarized so well by Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Re:How does it work in this case? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009481)

It doesn't sound to me like the prosecutors were particularly brilliant in their making an example of him.

Why not? Even if Sonna prevails in civil court, the prosecutors won't be personally liable.

Re:How does it work in this case? (3, Interesting)

Lost Race (681080) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009847)

No, they did not succeed according to plan. They wanted to scare him into pleading guilty and going to prison, and they failed. It's pretty clear that the prosecution never expected this case to go to trial, and once it did they had no idea what to do with it. Even though he lost two years and much of his life, the prosecution lost too. The message that people will hear from this story is not "act up and you'll get crushed by the legal system"; rather it's "what this guy did was perfectly legal and OK."

Re:How does it work in this case? (2, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008919)

these are the people that judge and impose laws on us techies

You are not "supposed" to be a techie; you are "supposed" to do technical work at your job, then go home, drink beer, and watch whatever propaganda is on TV. Advanced technology is "supposed" to be the secret, non-disclosable lore of corporations, not something you just play with in your home.

What, did you not get the memo?

Re:How does it work in this case? (5, Funny)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008967)

it is very alarming how technologically inept the authorities were in this case and how they ignored Occam's Razor to nail this guy.

Well, duh, Occam's Razor was banned along with nail clippers and shaving cream exceeding 100 ml.

And these are the people that judge and impose laws on us techies.

Hopefully those who impose laws and those who judge are two separate branches of government, even in Canada.

Re:How does it work in this case? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009031)

And these are the people that judge and impose laws on us techies.

Hopefully those who impose laws and those who judge are two separate branches of government, even in Canada.

The problem is that both law enforcement and judges are (a) technically incompetent and (b) tend to side with corporate interests when it comes to technology.

Re:How does it work in this case? (1, Interesting)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009639)

He poked the cage, repeatedly [torontolife.com] , and finally got bit. Is this surprising to anyone, let alone Sonne himself? It's what he wanted all along, to prove himself right.

Re:How does it work in this case? (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40010141)

Poking the cage is not illegal. Pissing off those in power should not land you in prison for 2 years. His behavior is not smart and the outcome might be predictable, but that does not make the outcome right.

Re:How does it work in this case? (5, Funny)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008767)

The court found he was not trying to bomb the government. After 11 months in jail for no reason, he certainly has the motive to do it now.

Re:How does it work in this case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40010381)

You may be just kidding.

But by fuck. I would do it after that sort of miss treatment.

Simply claim temporary insanity due to the destruction of his life.

Then sue.

Re:How does it work in this case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40010407)

AFAIK and IANAL, In the US he would bring a civil case against the government, and he might win some financial compensation. It's not easy; but given a high profile case like this he could pick up some lawyers on contingency or perhaps even pro bono if the case has merit.

Of course it's Canada, so I dunno.

I have thought for some time that it would be nice of somebody in the US organized a "anti-civil forfeiture currency". For example, when somebody gets their house seized for having a bag of weed, or the government takes $2000 from you by "suing the money", then citizens should be able to issue currency to negate that. Obviously, an issue of money outside the Federal Reserve System is illegal. It might be possible to work around it by donating "works of art" to the victim. That would be good fun. If it took hold, totalitarianism on both sides of the border would have to show their true colors and kick us with boots, which we could actually show on video and maybe, just maybe, shame them back under the rocks from which they have emerged.

Retaliation (5, Informative)

davegravy (1019182) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008643)

Re:Retaliation -- slim (4, Informative)

redelm (54142) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008859)

Good luck to him -- even if he waits longer to get a jury trial, the judge will still set damages and cannot assess anything resembling punative damages under Canadian law. At most he will get actual, proveable damages, two years salary (should try for overtime:). And might actually get costs awarded against him if he rejects a higher "paid-into-court" settlement offer.

Re:Retaliation -- slim (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009003)

If someone keeps you working for them 24/7 for two years, that should be one hell of an overtime bonus.
 
I figured Canadians would have inherited a British sensibility for paying people who were unfairly imprisoned without fighting it. Of course, the news stories I've read like that from England may have given me an overly sunny impression of their approach. It just always made sense to me that if the government should fuck up your life for any significant period of time, that they compensate you for it as best they can.

Re:Retaliation -- slim (5, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009319)

I'm afraid you do have an overly sunny impression of our approach here in England.

I was a witness in court a while back. It was a simple trial related to a motoring accident, which would take only a few hours. It had been aborted on one occasion a few months after the event in question, reasonably enough IMHO because there wasn't enough time left at the end of the day to be sure of hearing the case fully in one session. It was then tried on a different day, several months later still.

The defendant was found not guilty. In their summing up, the magistrates criticised the police report that was given as evidence, and noted that evidence by one of the prosecution's own witnesses was a major factor in the not guilty decision. In short, the magistrates did not seem to have a very high opinion at all of the case that had been made by the prosecution.

As a witness, I was entitled to some basic cost-of-living expenses for my trouble, and in practice my employer had paid me my normal wage despite missing the two days of work. However, I discovered later that the defendant (who, remember, was found not guilty, and had presumably already had about a year of stress since the accident with the case hanging over them) was entitled to nothing by way of compensation for either the lost time or the reduced quality of life.

It turns out that in England, you can have your day in court -- in fact, you might not get much choice about it, and it might be more than a day -- but only at your own expense. It's no wonder that so many people pay up the fixed penalty fines for traffic offences they cannot possibly have committed, if it would cost them more than the fine to take time off and travel to a faraway court near where the alleged incident took place in order to defend themselves.

It's a shame. I think rules that mean you can lose out even if you have done nothing wrong bring the entire justice system into disrepute. It's not as obvious as a couple of recent high profile cases when someone died after the police made a mistake, but in a way this sort of widespread, low-level abuse is just as insidious, and the kind of middle ground that we're talking about in TFA is the next logical step.

Re:Retaliation -- slim (1)

bware (148533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009751)

I think rules that mean you can lose out even if you have done nothing wrong bring the entire justice system into disrepute.

Or as we say over here in the colonies, "You can beat the rap, but you can't beat the ride."

Re:Retaliation -- slim (4, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009041)

apparently while there's no law that would force unjust imprisonment to have a compensation by default in canada, the courts can find it appropriate and do it anyways.

story at http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2011/04/14/17995011.html [canoe.ca] has a list of some large compensations.

Re:Retaliation -- slim (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009387)

Nice, but these are only ~0.4 M$/y which looks like 2x overtime even while sleeping, totalling 10x salary.

Canada/UK/oz/... rely _very_ heavily on the Crown (civil servants) and even company officers in general doing the "Right Thing", and being very embarrassed otherwise. Unfortunately, this has been eroded by US movies/TV.

US/state/corp officials derive their power from election, and are otherwise devoid of civic duty. So they need hard slaps from courts.

Re:Retaliation -- slim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40010015)

Good luck to him -- even if he waits longer to get a jury trial, the judge will still set damages and cannot assess anything resembling punative damages under Canadian law. At most he will get actual, proveable damages, two years salary (should try for overtime:). And might actually get costs awarded against him if he rejects a higher "paid-into-court" settlement offer.

His wife left him and took the house. It sounds like damages will be significant.

Re:Retaliation (2)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008907)

Good, he needs to sue them for BILLIONS and give them reason to never repeat this mistake again.

Re:Retaliation (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009353)

Good, he needs to sue them for BILLIONS and give them reason to never repeat this mistake again.

We need something more creative for the malfeasance of public servants because any monetary awards will just nickle-and-dime the taxpayer who won't notice it and won't have the influence to fix the problems anyway.

I propose indentured servitude. Anyone with significant involvement in pursuing this ridiculous case owes Sonne just as many hours of unpaid labor as they forced him to waste defending himself. Lets see that vindictive prosecutor made to personally mow Sonne's lawn every week for the next decade.

Re:Retaliation (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40010353)

Sonne doesn't have a lawn. He lost his house.

I'm thinking "organs." All the vindictive screwups responsible for this abortion of justice have to give up one transplantable organ, liquidated on the open market, and the money goes to Sonne. Or the organ, if he needs it and is biocompatible. Or just wants to display it in formaldehyde on a shelf in his apartment.

Re:Retaliation (2)

ilsaloving (1534307) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009475)

As a taxpayer who would eventually be footing the bill, I don't see how billions would be of any help.

He is definitely deserving of compensation, of course, but what I would much rather see is that asshat Bill Blair and all the other management toadies dangling from a tree by their gonads.

How could someone with a decades long policing career NOT have known that kettling a crowd of innocent people for hours in the middle of a downpour was a bad idea?
Or stuffing a makeshift 'jail' ridiculously beyond capacity with handcuffed people for hours/days, with insufficient bathroom facilities?

If money is the only way to get retribution, then so be it. But I want to see more. Firings at the *minimum*.

Re:Retaliation (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009185)

Set up a donations. I'm more the willing to for over money to see the Canadian gov in a whole lot of hurt.

USA! USA! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40008647)

So how much influence did the USA have in this whole farce?

Re:USA! USA! (2)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008827)

Probably not as much as you are implying.

Our Canadian Friends to the North are more in common with the United States Culturally then you would like to believe. And it isn't as much from the U.S. Forcing them the Canadians take pride in their differences, as do the Americans.

Both of our Justice Systems are Modeled of the English system. So it isn't to far to expect that the way we handle justice isn't that different.

Re:USA! USA! (2)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009307)

So how much influence did the USA have in this whole farce?

I suspect not very much. He insulted the police ("Bacon on wheels", for bicycle cops), belittled their efforts in security ("security theatre"), and tweeted about how a security fence could be climbed. Apparently, he also taunted a starving unchained dog, the unfeeling bastard! I'm still trying to read about that last one.

Obviously, he's a dangerous malcontented civil libertarian who refuses to follow orders of the authorities, and he knows stuff they never will understand. I'm surprised they couldn't hang him up on IP theft too. "He's got a DVD burner in his computer!"

I doubt the USA could have added anything more substantial that could possibly make this clusterfuck worse.

'D20 Geek' Byron Sonne Cleared... (2, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008661)

I read this as "D20 Geek" - looks like he rolled his saving throw!

>> 'G20 Geek' Byron Sonne Cleared of Explosives Charges

Re:'D20 Geek' Byron Sonne Cleared... (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008785)

I read this as "D20 Geek" - looks like he rolled his saving throw!

Yeah, save versus government... DC 35, +10 difficulty for security theatre... you pretty much have to roll a nat 20, or have ranks in diplomacy and a high intelligence.

Re:'D20 Geek' Byron Sonne Cleared... (0)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008895)

Ok Mr. Sonne, Role you hobby check.
[Roles the dice] It lands on a one!
Well because you roll a one your chemistry project got the authorities attention, and you did this right during the G-20. You are now in jail...
Roll 2d6 to see how many years you are in jail before your court.
[Roles the dice] it lands on a 6 and a 5. Ohhh Snap! 11 years, that sucks dude.
Ok you now in court you better roll well you need to beet a 15 to get let out.
[Roles a D20] It lands on 20! Well you got off with no charges!
Because you land on a 20 you can try to counter sue do you want to do that...

Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (5, Insightful)

DynamoJoe (879038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008809)

He lost 11 months of freedom and overall two years of his life fighting bullshit charges. He had to move in with his parents, his girlfriend left him (she got arrested too), I presume he's no longer employed, and two years later he has nothing to show for it but a hollow victory in court. The government got what they wanted out of him: He's a warning to others of what they can do to you even if you've done nothing wrong.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (2)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008841)

He's a warning to others of what they will do to you if you leave them in power.

Fiss.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40008873)

his wife left him

FTFY

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (4, Funny)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009001)

Didn't both of them leave him?

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008897)

Exactly. If the state can't prove its case, it should be forced to make the victim whole again. That, and the thugs who put him in jail on false charges should be imprisoned themselves.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (2)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009037)

I'd give victims of justice a credit. Imprisoned for 2 years? you get 2 years of credit, to commit any crime which has the median jail time of 2 or less years. Only limitation, the victims of such automatically condoned crime must be chosen among those who are directly involved with the trial. 2 years means you can beat em up, take their car to the manufacturer and see if it withstands a crash test, hijack their dog, stuff like this.
That should make people in charge more responsible.

Of course it will never work because this wasn't an error in the first place but was intimidation, or to be more precise, an act of terror. And the system would simply react to such laws by faking proof in better ways.

But boy would it be cool.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (1)

qbast (1265706) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009521)

My guess that favourite way of spending this 'crime allowance' would to beat the shit out of prosecutor right there in court room.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40008935)

And here's the unpopular-on-Slashdot, but common-everywhere-else view: Yes, he lost all that, but he provides us all an excellent object lesson in how not to be a stupid douchebag.

When you are not a security contractor with an official relationship to the people organizing and/or securing the G-20 summit, don't fucking go on the internet talking about how you're going to 'test the security' of the G-20 summit.

If they want your help, they'll ask for it. If you offer your help, and they refuse to accept it, then by all means, write to a politician to express your views. Write to the newspapers to talk about how the security of the summit is flawed, and needs to be tested in different ways than are being planned (a legitimate *journalist* would be interested in this sort of a story - find one). Even express your views that the government is using ineffective security precautions that amount to no more than theater, and explain why online, on a blog, etc. But do not - I repeat, do not - continue making plans to "test" the security and talk about your plans to "test" the security.

If they've refused your offer of assistance to "test security," and you go ahead and publicly continue to make plans to "test security," don't be surprised when they show up, kick in your door, and fucking cart you off because you're behaving like a threat.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009073)

He did nothing illegal. If being a douchebag landed you in jail all the police would have to do would be stake out half the stores in the local mall and wait for a popped collar to walk by.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (-1, Flamebait)

X.25 (255792) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009397)

And here's the unpopular-on-Slashdot, but common-everywhere-else view: Yes, he lost all that, but he provides us all an excellent object lesson in how not to be a stupid douchebag.

When you are not a security contractor with an official relationship to the people organizing and/or securing the G-20 summit, don't fucking go on the internet talking about how you're going to 'test the security' of the G-20 summit.

If they want your help, they'll ask for it. If you offer your help, and they refuse to accept it, then by all means, write to a politician to express your views. Write to the newspapers to talk about how the security of the summit is flawed, and needs to be tested in different ways than are being planned (a legitimate *journalist* would be interested in this sort of a story - find one). Even express your views that the government is using ineffective security precautions that amount to no more than theater, and explain why online, on a blog, etc. But do not - I repeat, do not - continue making plans to "test" the security and talk about your plans to "test" the security.

If they've refused your offer of assistance to "test security," and you go ahead and publicly continue to make plans to "test security," don't be surprised when they show up, kick in your door, and fucking cart you off because you're behaving like a threat.

So, is this how you justify what they've done to him, you stupid cunt?

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009729)

OOOOO! Big old badass uses the c word! OOOOOOOOOO! X.25! Is that the protocol, or your secret code name, Mr. big swaggering badass?

Have you REALLY read the story of what happened here?

This shithead did everything he could to make this happen to him. I wouldn't be surprised if the lawsuit was his ultimate goal.

You filthy impotent geeks need to step back, clear the revolutionary bullshit out of your eyes and ears, and stop operating at the zero level of intellect. You are the lowest of the low and YOU are the problem.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40010013)

everything he could to make this happen to him.

And the woman was asking for it, too!

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40010457)

Yep, that's exactly how I justify what they've done to him, you twat. I have zero sympathy for the man. He set out with the *explicit stated intent* of testing security by buying "suspicious chemicals" and seeing if the authorities would take notice.

Well, guess what - they took notice, and treated him exactly the way they should have treated someone who was a threat: arresting him, and pressing charges. His *goal* was to appear as a threat, and then show that even though he did suspicious things, the security never even noticed him. And that backfired on him.

So no, don't expect me to feel sympathy or surprise that they took notice, and pressed charges. He disproved his own hypothesis, which is instructional for him and for other people considering the same thing, and he got exactly what he was hoping to get: a security response. If you're not affiliated with the G-20 summit, you don't go out of your way to make it look like you're planning to bomb it, unless you are specifically being asked to test security by the people organizing & securing the event.

In much the same manner - if you decide to test airport security by trying to sneak a knife onboard an aircraft, and then get caught and jailed and charged, I have zero sympathy for you, unless you're somebody hired by airport security specifically to TEST the efficacy of the security checkpoints. If they were to hand a TSA agent a knife, send him through security, and then cut him loose and let him sit in jail for 3 years after they asked him to test security, yeah, that's a problem. But an unaffiliated whackjob deciding to do some freelance "security testing?" Not a single quiver on the sympathy meter.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008969)

It isn't over, he will sue for wrongful prosecution. He may even win, but even if he doesn't he did what he set out to do: draw lots of attention to the shoddy, expensive, ineffectual security practices in use. Oh, and also drew attention to the government's apparent imprisonment of innocent people for political reasons. I don't know if it was worth it to him or not, but he gets a nod and a thank you from people like me for what he's accomplished just in avoiding a conviction.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009039)

Oh, and also drew attention to the government's apparent imprisonment of innocent people for political reasons.

Then he's doing the government's work for them. They wanted to make an example of him, and by drawing attention to his case, he's helping them to succeed.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40008997)

I wouldn't call avoiding serving a possible 10 year prison sentence a "hollow victory".

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009051)

I will beat you within an inch of your life unless you best me in a game of bloody knuckles while I'm wearing metal studded leather gloves. You cannot decline this game. You win but your hand is broken in the process of the game and you may never be able to write again. Wouldn't you call it a "hollow victory" considering that I forced you to play an unfair game without good reason and you still received possibly irreversible damages?

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009235)

No. Freedom is precious. It's never a hollow victory when you choose to defend it and win. And anyone who stands up to the state and expects to suffer no repercussions for it are delusional. Serious people who engage in civil disobediance know that they could individually be "make an example of" at any time. But if having principles means anything, it means sometimes you might have to face the consequences of upholding them.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009579)

A Pyrrhic victory, to a battle forced upon him?

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009843)

A Pyrrhic victory, to a battle forced upon him?

I'm not saying I like what happened to this guys, but he kicked a hornets nest, multiple times. He asked for a battle.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009949)

It's not a Pyrrhic victory since he sucessfully defended the most important thing he had to lose: his freedom. This means he's free to continue his chemisty and rocketry hobbies. He's free to search and get another job, or start his own business (which I think he already had since I believed the TFA mentioned consultancy work). He's free to date women. He's free to continue to be an activist for the issues he cares about. Not only that, but if he wins his civil case against the government, he'll have certain degree of financial freedom that ameliorates whatever hardships he's going through now. His life is not ruined by any stretch. He's certainly better off now than if he had been convicted.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009043)

setting aside the meat of the story for a moment..

his girlfriend left him (she got arrested too)

...do we know why she (being girlfriend or, as an AC-followup notes, wife) left him?

Perhaps he left the seat up. Perhaps he failed to inform her that he was purposefully taunting the authorities. She may have had crappy or good reasons to leave him for things he did or failed to do.

Or perhaps she just got tired of him being in jail, and found it too difficult to remain 'at his side'. In which case perhaps that's a 'weak' reason but not entirely non-understandable. Regardless of one's views, I'd imagine he'd want a girlfriend/wife who sticks with him no matter what (well, within reason) - so wouldn't he be better off without her anyway?

Don't get me wrong, I feel sorry for the guy and believe the case against him was indeed just to set an example (except that they keep 'setting examples' so it's certainly not having much of an effect). But the whole girlfriend/wife angle feels a bit too much like plucking at heartstrings.

He needs a better girlfriend (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009229)

obviously she wanted out and probably thought he was guilty and this was a good excuse. Way to support your significant other/spouse.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009281)

[...] and two years later he has nothing to show for it but a hollow victory in court.

Well, that and the opportunity to sue for unjust imprisonment. And the worship of many who supported his cause. The latter of which, if this guy's smart, spells "multi-million dollar book deal" to me.

Sure, it doesn't magically erase time and replace the past two years with singing unicorns that shit candy, but you've got to play the system when given the chance.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009449)

we need more idiots like him to continue the fight against injustice. It may be hollow to you but not to me and definitely not to him.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009769)

Canada is sounding more like good Old USA. Scare you into taking it in the rear and smiling at the same time.

Re:Doesn't matter that he won. He lost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40010193)

Jokes on them, I got no job, no girlfriend and still live in my mom's basement!

Twitter and Flickr evidence (0)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008851)

I think it should be clear that we need anonymity systems, when comments made on Twitter and Flickr are used to justfiy ruining a person's life like this. It is a sad thing to say, but we need the tools developed to help dissidents in China to protect people here in the "free world."

Re:Twitter and Flickr evidence (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009009)

we need the tools developed to help dissidents in China to protect people here in the "free world."

Haven't you already used just such a tool to tell me and millions of others about your opinion on this subject?

Hint: Twitbook is evil. Do not touch. Slashdot and thousands of other blogs are good - they allow you to remain anonymous.

Bomb Ingredients? (5, Insightful)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#40008989)

The Crown alleged he had all the necessary ingredients to build a homemade bomb

I don't know anyone that DOESN'T.

Re:Bomb Ingredients? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009133)

Ironically, the Unabomber almost certainly didn't most of the time.

Re:Bomb Ingredients? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009163)

You must know interesting people. I could get the necessary stuff without much effort, but most of the obvious things that would be helpful (fertilizer, pipes, nails, charcoal, sulfur, saltpeter, prepaid cellphones) are stuff that I don't normally have in my apartment. Some household cleaning substances would be useful, but by and large I don't have enough. The more relevant issue seems to be that lots of people do have all of them with legitimate reasons, and that it is really easy to obtain them all. So your basic point seems correct but your phrasing is hyperbolic.

Re:Bomb Ingredients? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009261)

I have the great majority of stuff to make a homemade bomb. However, I'm a homeowner, so the list of things I need to keep around are larger than one would need at an apartment. Maybe he doesn't know any slobs (as in no cleaning supplies) that live in apartments?

Re:Bomb Ingredients? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009529)

The only thing on that list that I'm missing is saltpeter, and I don't consider myself all that interesting of a person.

Re:Bomb Ingredients? (2)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#40010337)

If you can make a campfire, have a bucket and a piece of cloth, you can make a suitable gunpowder substitute. The remainder is left as an exercise for the student.

Re:Bomb Ingredients? (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009203)

The Crown alleged he had all the necessary ingredients to build a homemade bomb

I don't know anyone that DOESN'T.

This, a million times over; there isn't a homeowner in North America who doesn't possess materials capable of being combined for explosive effect, most of which reside under our kitchen sinks (or wherever you stash your cleaning supplies).

Claiming this as a valid rationale for prosecution is like claiming that owning bullets is intent to commit murder. It's not valid, it's just fucking stupid.

Re:Bomb Ingredients? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009309)

Hell I easily have all the necessary components to built a bomb. If you reload ammo you have everything necessary to build a bomb already.
Gun powder: check
Primers: check
steel pipe: check (makes a great breaker bar)

Re:Bomb Ingredients? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009497)

I do, but given that she's only a very bright 3-year-old I'm not considering her a big risk for making a bomb anyways.

Re:Bomb Ingredients? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009517)

From my favorite monster B-movie, Tremors:

[Explosion]
Valentine McKee: What the hell's in those things, Burt?
Burt Gummer [holding a bag of pipe bombs]: Just a few household chemicals in the proper proportions.

Re:Bomb Ingredients? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40009637)

Especially since people have been convicted of "handling explosives without a permit" for making a "Works Bomb" (oversized firecracker).

http://www.lenconnect.com/news/x1060313365/Jail-probation-for-pop-bottle-bomb

did anyone else read it as... (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 2 years ago | (#40009705)

"'G20 Geek' Byron Sonne Cleared Explosive Charges"

I thought the guy foiled some kind of terrorist plot by disarming a bomb

I'm glad to see the police spokeman being upfront (3, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40010221)

"You're engaging in hindsight, which of course is 20-20," said police spokesman Mark Pugash. "... There was sufficient evidence to arrest, there was sufficient evidence to charge," he added.

Pugash said it was a "dangerous assumption" to think that because a case was acquitted it should not have made it to court.

"We investigated, we arrested, we charged ... the Crown took the case forward."

The mere fact of innocence doesn't reduce the civic lesson value of this entire episode: You can be imprisoned for nearly a year, held almost incommunicado, and lose your most important personal relationships, simply because you're loudly opposed to the mechanisms of state security. Your "acquittal" does nothing to ameliorate that. Even if you win, you will still have lost, and nothing will change.

Well, we can hope the police spokeman was wrong about the last part.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?