Pair from movie pirating gang jailed over £1 million film piracy lose appeals

Two members of a movie pirating gang which cost the film industry £1 million have lost appeals against their sentences.

Pair from movie pirating gang jailed over £1 million film piracy lose appeals

Sahil Rafiq, aged 26, and Reece Baker, 24, were part of a racket that created copies of blockbuster films and distributed them on the web for free.

In December Rafiq, of Warnford Walk, Wolverhampton, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years while Baker, of Daimler Close, Castle Bromwich, was handed four-years and two-months.

But on Tuesday lawyers representing the pair argued those sentences did not reflect the fact they made nothing from the fraud.

Mr Justice Hickinbottom, sitting with Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Judge Adele Williams QC, rejected the appeal ruling everything had been taken into account.

He said: "Whilst we accept that the sentences passed on these two young men were stiff, we are unpersuaded that they were manifestly excessive."

The plot was believed to have resulted in copies of up to 9,000 films, watched by as many as five million people in less than four years and involved a total of five men.

Ben Cooper, of Dilloways Lane, Willenhall, was given three-and-a-half years while Graeme Reid, of Kingsclere Walk, Chesterfield, got the same.

Scott Hemming, of Perry Common Road, Birmingham, was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence and made the subject of a mental health treatment requirement.

All five had admitted conspiracy to defraud at various stages between March 1 in 2010, and January 1 last year by copying, distributing or making available online infringing copies of films.

Rafiq had been involved in the piracy scam for two-and-a-half years.

He used various identities and ran the group 26K where he was responsible for illegally releasing 835 films, which could be downloaded online.

Baker, who had been involved for 20 months, had gone by the names Hope and Resistance.

He had helped to upload 310 films and had paid £100 for overseas copies of the films Argo and Skyfall.

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