Anonymous Australia member Adam John Bennett given 2 years suspended sentence for website hacking

Former member of the online hacktivist group, Anonymous was sentenced to 2 year suspended sentence and 200 hours of community service by a Perth court.

Adam John Bennett, 42, was given a suspended sentence for six charges including aiding another person to cause the unauthorised impairment of electronic communications (hacking). Five of the offences occurred in November 2012, when members of the group Anonymous hacked into websites around the world.

Bennett who worked as a life saver at Scarborough Beach, used the pseudonym ‘Lorax’ for his online activities. He also has his own online radio show which is followed by hundreds of his followers.

Prosecution’s charge

The prosecutors told the court that when Bennett’s Scarborough home was searched in 2014, the police found the signature Anonymous ‘Guy Fawkes’ mask, along with audio streaming and studio equipment.

The police also alleged that Bennett along with the members of Anonymous was planning on a “mass defacement” of thousand of websites to coincide with the 2012 Guy Fawkes’ Day. They said that Bennett also helped a juvenile, ‘Juzzy’ to hack into a variety of sites, including those operated by the Australian Agency for Education and Training, the Australian Film Institute, Anchor Foods, and the Food Industries Association of Queensland.

When the public tried to access a hacked site, they found a message from the group in red text on a black background.

Prosecutor Patricia Aloi told the court “the plan was to get a much larger number of sites”. She said the “impact could be described as a nuisance, could be described as lost productivity”, and such offending could escalate.

Bennett’s defence

In Bennett’s defence, his attorney, Darren Renton told the court the hacked web pages were accessible, and only the front page had the Anonymous “rant”. He also added that the rant was a political ideology and there was no crime involved. He linked Anonymous hacking to “digital graffiti.”

However, Renton told the court that Bennett accepted he was breaking the law, and it was an illegal way to put forward a political view.

The judgement

Justice McCann said it was not a political ideology, more like “immature rants of the schoolyard”. McCann said to jail Bennett, who had “basically never grown up”, would make him a martyr, and he should instead be given the “21st century equivalent” of being in the stocks.

Bennett was given a sentence of two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, as well as 200 hours of community service and an intensive supervision order.