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Last battle for US hacker

PUBLISHED: 16:59 11 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:15 07 September 2010

CROUCH End computer hacker, Gary McKinnon, may have to wait weeks before a decision is made on whether he is extradited to the United States. Mr McKinnon, 43 and a former Highgate Wood pupil, has been awaiting extradition after being accused of causing $

CROUCH End computer hacker, Gary McKinnon, may have to wait weeks before a decision is made on whether he is extradited to the United States.

Mr McKinnon, 43 and a former Highgate Wood pupil, has been awaiting extradition after being accused of causing $700,000 worth of damage when he allegedly hacked into US security systems from his Hillfield Avenue home in 2002.

In August 2008, he lost his appeal at the European Court of Human Rights, the highest court in the land, and the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, ordered his extradition.

But in January this year, he won the chance to appeal Ms Smith's decision and this week he was given one last chance to halt his extradition during a judicial review at the High Court.

On Tuesday (June 9), Edward Fitzgerald QC, on behalf of Mr McKinnon, argued that the late diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome in August last year was not considered in the original trials and his extradition would be a break of human rights.

He said that extradition "would unnecessarily and avoidable expose him to a high risk of serious mental deterioration and a serious risk of self-harm".

He also claimed that Ms Smith's decision was "flawed" and that she "underestimated and misrepresented the gravity of the situation without obtaining evidence of her own".

But Hugo Keith QC, on behalf of the Home Office argued that extradition would not be a break of Mr McKinnon's human rights or be detrimental to his health.

He said: "The condition that Mr McKinnon suffers from is deserving of every sympathy and nothing in the position of the Secretary of State should be taken as otherwise.

"But the Secretary of State, like the court, is obliged to work within the restraints of the law and Mr McKinnon's condition does not come close to establishing his extradition would violate his human rights."

Lord Justice Stanley Burnton said that he would reserve judgement and Mr McKinnon's lawyers said that a decision could take anything from days to weeks.

Janis Sharp, Mr McKinnon's mother, said: "I think our lawyers did really well and just hope they come to the right decision. Now it's another wait."

Meanwhile, an application has been made for a second judicial review against the decision of director of public prosecution, who decided in February that he would not prosecute Mr McKinnon in the UK, a process hoped to prevent the extradition.

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