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Gary McKinnon’s Case To Return To High Court Today

July 24, 2012

The case of computer hacker Gary McKinnon returns to the High Court today.

The hearing follows his refusal last week to undergo further medical tests by a Home Office-appointed expert as he fights extradition to the United States.

The US authorities want McKinnon, from Wood Green, north London, to face trial for hacking into military computers 10 years ago.

His mother Janis Sharp said he would not submit to a final psychiatric examination before the Home Secretary decides whether to extradite. Ms Sharp says leading psychiatric experts have already concluded the 46-year-old would be at high risk of committing suicide if removed.

The hearing at London’s High Court follows indications that Theresa May’s decision is “close”.

But at the last court hearing, on July 5, her lawyers said she was “personally concerned” that medical experts instructed by her department had not been permitted to carry out a final assessment.

McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger syndrome – a high-functioning form of autism – was given extra time to reconsider his refusal. His supporters claim the Home Office-appointed expert, Professor Thomas Fahy, has no experience in uncovering suicidal tendencies in Asperger’s patients. He has already been assessed on “at least six different occasions by six independent specialists”, they said.

Ms Sharp said: “Gary’s ordeal has gone on for far too long. The Home Office should accept the very clear and incontrovertible evidence provided by the country’s leading psychiatric experts in this field. It’s time to make the right decision and end Gary’s torment of extradition. When he’s fit and ready, as we have said all along, the CPS could try him in this country for his foolish acts that happened over a decade ago.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Home Secretary will make a decision as soon as possible – this is a complex case, in a complex area of the law, and a large amount of material has been submitted, some of it relatively recently. She needs to consider all the material carefully before making a decision.”

McKinnon admits to what one US lawyer called “the biggest military computer hack of all time”, but claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs. His supporters fear he faces up to 60 years in jail if convicted of hacking into Pentagon and Nasa computers between February 2001 and March 2002. The case was described by Hugo Keith QC, appearing for the Home Secretary, as “this rather vexed and perhaps totemic case” with important implications for Britain’s extradition laws.

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