Hacker McKinnon refused Supreme Court appeal

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US extradition increasingly likely.

Hacker Gary McKinnon has lost what may prove to be his final attempt to avoid extradition to the US.

He had hoped to be able to appeal to the newly formed UK Supreme Court, which since 1 October has become the final court of appeal for civil cases in this country, but he has been refused permission to do so.

US authorities claim he hacked 97 military computers and caused US$800,000 ($884,480) of damage.

McKinnon admits hacking but denies it was malicious.

The hacker has been trying to resist extradition and while he does not deny he hacked into Pentagon computers, he wants the case to be tried in the UK.

In July, two High Court judges ruled in favour of decisions by the Home Office and Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer to send him to the US and not try him in the UK.

Glasgow-born McKinnon now faces up to 70 years in prison if he is convicted in the US of what US prosecutors have called "the biggest military computer hack of all time".

McKinnon has previously appealed unsuccessfully to the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights and many experts said the judicial review in the High Court was likely to be his last opportunity to avoid extradition.

His lawyers claimed the authorities have not given sufficient consideration to the fact that McKinnon suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, which they said could have "disastrous consequences", including possibly suicide, if he was extradited.

Home secretary Alan Johnson has the power to step in and prevent the extradition of McKinnon but has so far not intervened.

itweek.co.uk @ 2010 Incisive Media


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