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Aussie PC charity founder in court over fraud

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The founder of the Australian charity, PCs for Kids - which has been waging war on Microsoft over its OS licensing system since June - Colin Philip Bayes, has been issued with an arrest warrant after failing to turn up to a court hearing in Victoria, Australia over a fraud-related offence.

Melbourne-based news site TheAge.com.au has reported that the warrant for Colin Bayes was put out after he failed to turn up to Geelong Magistrates Court over a charge of "obtaining property by deception". The offence happened in the early part of 1999.

There is also the threat of two summonses against Mr Bayes on another two counts of obtaining property by deception. All charges relate to bank accounts run under the PCs for Kids name and amount to Au$60,000 (£22,000). And then there's the case of a Mitsubishi Pajero, owned by PCs for Kids, which appears to have gone missing.

The charity's treasurer Owen Courtis told The Age that Colin had been dismissed as president as soon as he was charged with the offence last month. The charity is not in the best of shapes but Mr Courtis says he hopes it will get back to business as usual.

Mr Bayes was the force behind the charity's attempts to embarrass Microsoft into overlooking its Windows licence fee on its PCs. Not content with a compromise deal offered by Microsoft after adverse publicity, Mr Bayes embarked on a negative PR battle - something we strongly advised against at the time.

His recent departure just may be related to an interesting change in the charity's revamped Web site. Whereas previously most of the site was taken up with the Microsoft crusade, the only reference to the saga that had made the charity (the smallest of four operating in this area in Australia) well-known comes in the form of links to news stories mentioning the charity's fight - several layers under the homepage.

The entire event appears to have been forgotten about in the charity's history and the only indication of a high-profile campaign against Microsoft by US satirist Michael Moore (sparked by PCs for Kids) is an unexplained link to his Web site tucked at the bottom of the front page.

We wouldn't like to speculate on whether this change is thanks to the Beast of Redmond sending in the legal rottweilers or a re-evaluation by PCs for Kids staff over the whole situation. ®

Related Link

TheAge.com.au's story
PCs for Kids site

Related Stories

More on the PCs for Kids / Microsoft battle
PCs for Kids demands free MS OSes
MS chases Windows licence fee from kids charity

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