News

Court throws out hacker McKinnon's appeal to Supreme Court

Mark Ballard

The High Court has thrown out Pentagon hacker's last chance of having his extradition stopped in the British courts on humanitarian grounds.

The court turned down a petition by the former IT systems administrator, Gary McKinnon's to have his case refered to the Supreme Court on the grounds that extradition would contrevene his human rights.

"His extradition is a lawful and proportionate response to his alleged offending," said Lord Justice Stanley Burnton in the judgment.

McKinnon, who suffers from Aspergers syndrome, a form of autism, will now appeal for the Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, and the European Court of Human Rights to intervene on humanitarian grounds.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, McKinnon's lawyer, said: "We will be writing with a psychological report to the Home Secretary today, highlighting the dramatic deterioration of his psychological condition.

Since McKinnon was diagnosed last summer with Asperger's, a condition that makes him socially inept and psychologically vulnerable, he has tried to have the US extradition order stopped, claiming it would be cruel to put him through such an ordeal when he could simply be prosecuted at home.

McKinnon brought his battle to the High Court almost a year ago to the day when the Home Secretary declared that autism was no reason to prevent a British citizen being sent from his own country to stand trial in a foreign court.

In his application to the court, Fitzgerald had argued that to put someone as vulnerable as McKinnon through extradition would breach the Human Rights Act (HRA), which protects people from to torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It would also breach his right to the support of his family under the same law by sending such a vulnerable man to face justice so far from home.

The case centred on just how much pain and hardship the justice system could put people through before it reached a "threshold" of suffering that activated HRA protections. The Home Secretary argued that the threshold must be very high to trump the UK's extradition treaty with the United States - so high that even if, as doctors have warned is the case, McKinnon's suffering were likely to be so intense that the ordeal of extradition would cause him to take his own life.

Fitzgerald's argued that as it was possible to prosecute McKinnon in the UK (there is dual jurisdiction in trans-national hacking cases) then this should be done because it would avoid putting McKinnon through the ordeal of execution. But the Director of Public prosecutions refused a UK prosecution on practical grounds - that it would be too expensive.

Karen Todner, McKinnon's solicitor, said McKinnon would appeal again to the European Court of Human Rights.

"Why is our government so inhumane to allow this to happen to someone, particularly someone with Aspergers?" she said outside the court.

Janis Sharpe, McKinnon's mother, called the judgement "perverse". She said: "They say the courts are not supposed to be political but they are."

The High Court had already thrown out these arguments once. McKinnon had sought permission to put them before the supreme court but today's judgment refuses him that right.

Gary McKinnon essential guide.

Mckiinnon hacking case relise on hearsay, says Crown Prosecution Service document.

McKinnon at risk of suicide, claim supporters

Gary McKinnon interactive time line


Email Alerts

Register now to receive ComputerWeekly.com IT-related news, guides and more, delivered to your inbox.
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
 

COMMENTS powered by Disqus  //  Commenting policy