A ‘bullying’ lawyer that started legal action against Brits accused of illegal downloading but subsequently abandoned the case has been named the Internet Villain of the Year by the Internet Service Provider’s Association (ISPA).

Andrew Crossley, who headed up now defunct legal firm ACS:Law, was invited to attend the ISPA awards, which took place in London this week, but he didn’t respond to his invitation and failed to attend the event.

He was up against Simon Power, New Zealand’s commerce minister, who recently agreed to 'three strikes' legislation that would see some web users thought to have illegally file-shared prosecuted, as well as commissioner Barnier, who the ISPA says showed lack of transparency and co-operation with industry and other commissioners on the IPR enforcement and IPR strategy as a whole.

The final contender in the Internet Villain of the Year category was the chairman of the Turkish information and communications technologies authority, Tayfun Acarer, for looking to impose mandatory filtering on all ISP connections in Turkey against “international norms”.

This year marks the first time the ISPA asked the public to nominate contenders for the award, along with people they think should be named Internet Hero of the Year, via email and Twitter.

Professor Ian Hargreaves, who proposed changes to intellectual property law that would see ‘ripping’ CDs legalised, narrowly beat Judge Colin Birss QC, who presided over the illegal downloading case brought by Crossley and slammed the lawyer for his "amateurish and slipshod" efforts, to the title of Internet Hero of the Year.

Other winners at the event include Be Broadband for its fixed broadband package and 3 for its mobile internet access offering.

“The Awards are a good measure of industry achievements in the past year and we wish all the companies further success over the next twelve months,” said Nicholas Lansman, ISPA Secretary General.