In the normal course of events, that being where the police don't witness a crime at first hand, they frequently have to rely on information originating from third parties as to the commission of a crime .
It doesn't seem at all unusual to me that, where that third party informant is both a material (and involved) witness as well as being the owner of the property (or representative of the owner, as in the case of FACT) their being invited to both identify their property and the equipment they witnessed actually being used to commit the offence.
This is synonymous with the police being accompanied by a trading standards officer, a VAT inspector, an RSPCA inspector, a customs officer, an insurance investigator, a TV licence operative or a council dog warden or whoever at the scene of any incident they are called to attend.
As the judge remarked in his sentencing, Vickerman is a truly arrogant felon, a man who was only in it for the money and was far too arrogant to accept that he alone was the author of his own misfortune. He blames everyone else for his own greed and the fact that he was caught red handed. In fact the reason why he was apprehended is because his partner in crime got caught in the US
He was of course found guilty and sentenced in respect of two sample charges of conspiracy to defraud. Whether we are talking about the supposedly phenominal (cynicism intentional) financial loss to the film industry claimed by FACT, the simple fact he was making £60k a month from advertising or his blatant money laundering , he was doing a whole lot more than just putting up links to infringing material.
As with many other sites before STC, Vickerman was uploading content acquired from newsgroups to foreign based video streaming sites, then linking to the content on his own site. The fact that he was stupid enough admit that and then post instructions on how others could help him in his own forum defies explanation.
The police have now reportedly started the lengthy process of finding out where he has hidden the money he earned. By the sounds of it they have already identified his use of false identification in the name of Natasha Benoit of Horizon Networks Ltd at Parex International Bank of Latvia - the same false identity he used when he pocketed the advertising money for himself from SuprNova and when he stole from us.
The issues regarding FACT are indeed entirely appropriate, but in this instance they met the higher burden of proof necessary for a criminal conviction (note: "beyond reasonable doubt", not "beyond all reasonable doubt" - an important distinction) thus Vickerman's greed has helped set a very uncomfortable precedent for what will undoubtedly be the first of many convictions.
As for the sentencing, from the perspective that we once knew Vickerman (and distanced ourselves from him because he stole from us) our objectivity is somewhat impaired. He is a crook, he always has been, he is a liar and he is a fool who has been caught without help from anyone - save a bloke he owed money to in the USA (Brendan Debeasi - aka "DC"). It appears that Brendan turned witness for the MPA and grassed Vickerman up when threatened by the FBI with a $250k fine, 5 years in prison and 3 years conditional discharge (link to FBI site)
From the REGISTERLet's not kid ourselves here, Anton Vickerman is an odious and stupid individual who deserves all he gets and, through his greed, has set a precedent that probably affects us all.But the Vickerman case turned when sysop Brendan DeBeasi, who had been hired by SurfTheChannel, agreed to co-operate with the prosecution. A civil action then followed
(Aside: As a lawyer myself, I wouldn't necessarily agree that silence is the only tactic to employ when dealing with the police or that it is always the best. It is just one tactic, and nobody is under any obligation to help police in the prosecution of themselves, but there are times when it can be a useful strategy to be seen to be cooperative. For many people, being kept on police bail whilst they clump around investigating causes stress at home and at work, and silence can have adverse implications when it cmes to suing the police at a later date for unlawful arrest - "false arrest" - and detention. The best tactic is to get yourself a lawyer, and say nothing until they arrive. However, forums are for opinions, not for law lessons)