The UK High Court said today that it will review the Home Secretary's decision to extradite self-confessed hacker Gary McKinnon to the US.
McKinnon has been charged with hacking into US military databases and causing £350,000 worth of damage. He admitted in a police interview that he hacked into federal computer systems, but denied causing damage on the scale claimed.
This morning Lord Lustice Maurice Kay and Mr Justice Simon granted McKinnon's lawyer's appeal to review Jack Straw's 2005 decision to accede to the extradition.Straw's decision was confirmed last year byhome secretary Jacqui Smith.
McKinnon was diagnosed recently as suffering from Asperger's Syndrome, an autistic condition.The court heard this week that McKinnon had at times been suicidal.
The director of public prosecutions (DPP), Keir Starmer, is considering whether to grant a petition to try McKinnon in the UK on the grounds that he has already admitted breaching the Computer Misuse Act.
For a delighted McKinnon, this is the first good news in almost four years of fighting his extradition. He exhausted all normal channels, including the Law Lords and the European Court of Human Rights, all of which had upheld the Home Secretary's decision.
In a statement, McKinnon's lawyer, Karen Todner, said, "No UK court has yet considered the impact on Gary of extradition in light of his medical condition. Gary's family and supporters believed this was unjust and are grateful that the High Court concurs."
She regretted that the Home Office had not confirmed whether, if McKinnon was extradited, it would ask the US to repatriate him following his trial, as happened with the Natwest Three. These were three British bankers who pleaded guilty in the US for defrauding Natwest in an Enron-related transaction, even though the DPP declined to prosecute them in the UK.
Janis Sharp, McKinnon's mother, said in a statement, "We are overjoyed that the British courts have shown sense and compassion by allowing this judicial review. We also have high hopes for a just outcome of the decision to be made by Keir Starmer."
She added, "Perhaps now that Obama is in power in America, our world might really become a more compassionate place where consideration, a sense of perspective and individuals' human rights are brought to the fore."