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The trial of a 16-year-old Canadian computer hacker accused of paralyzing major Web sites of CNN, Yahoo! and Amazon.com in February could last six months because of the technical evidence, his lawyer said Friday in Montreal, Quebec. At a court hearing for the suspect, who cannot be named under Canadian law but is known by his computer nickname Mafiaboy, Judge Gilles Ouellette scheduled another hearing for Dec. 13 on whether a “pre-conference” meeting should take place to speed up the process. The youth stood with his hands cuffed behind his back throughout Friday’s 15-minute court appearance. He wore a black t-shirt adorned with a dragon draped in a U.S. flag and said nothing. Police rearrested the youth on Dec. 1 for violating conditions of his release from custody after being charged in April with more than 60 counts of computer hacking and mischief. He has pleaded innocent to the charges, which involve the temporary disabling of Web sites by bombarding them with messages. If convicted, he could spend up to two years in a juvenile detention center. An adult convicted of the same charges would face up to 10 years in prison. After his initial arrest, the youth was allowed to live at home under strict conditions that included staying away from computers, attending school and keeping out of trouble. He was taken back into custody for reportedly being suspended from school, cutting classes, arguing with teachers and other disciplinary problems. His lawyer, Yan Romanowski, said Friday the stress of the criminal case was a factor in the youth’s problems at school. “All these procedures are starting to bear down on him,” Romanowski said, adding the boy faces pressure at school from teachers and other pupils. “The atmosphere is not ideal.” He said he would file an appeal of the youth’s continued detention next week. The trial would last from three to six months, Romanowski said, because “it will be very technical, there will be many witnesses in a field which is very technical.” The hacking case in February raised concern worldwide about the vulnerability of major Web sites as dependence on the Internet for communication and commerce increases. Police say Mafiaboy crippled the Web sites by bombarding them with thousands of simultaneous messages. Prosecutors also allege he broke into several computers, mostly at U.S. universities, and used them to launch the attack against the Web sites. The attacks flooded sites with so much traffic that legitimate customers were unable to use them. According to police, Mafiaboy boasted in Internet chat rooms about the attacks and was tracked through traces he left of his computer activity.

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