It's customary for the Internet community to despair over the state of cyber-law in New Zealand - and to wonder about the technical grasp of the judiciary.
But a hacker who came up for sentence in the Papakura District Court this week on charges relating to his illegal capture and use of credit card details to set up Internet access accounts, buy computer equipment, software and flowers, and rent cars, faced a judge who knew the terrtitory.
Judge David Harvey, an early customer of the Internet Company of New Zealand, was the first New Zealand district court judge to venture onto the Internet, and currently maintains the District Courts of New Zealand Home Page.
Twenty-two year-old Craig Ian Henderson, who according to reports took Telecom Clear and Vodafone for more than $60,000, might have wished he'd come before a less technically-aware judge.
Harvey, now an Internet Group customer who maintains a range of personal pages on the Ihug homepages machine, the same one maliciously attacked last year, is familiar with the issues.
He sentenced Henderson to a stiff five years imprisonment, noting that a "message must be sent to the community that this type of offending will be dealt with most severely."
The District Courts of New Zealand Home Page is at www.law.auckland.ac.nz/court/dc/dchome.htm and Judge Harvey's personal pages are at homepages.ihug.co.nz/usersdirs/djhdcj/public_html/DJHFrame1.htm