back to article McKinnon's UK trial bid rejected by DPP

UK prosecutors has rejected the opportunity to prosecute Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon in Britain, despite his signed confession to hacking offences. As part of his long-running fight against extradition to the US on hacking charges, McKinnon handed prosecutors a signed confession through his lawyers back in December. However …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    They wouldn't prosecute BT over thousands of breaches of the law with Phorm trials, but they'll happily prosecute a little old woman from Exeter for clipping a misbehaving youth' s ear (

    The CPS are a bunch of craven cowards.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So clearly...

    ...he hasn't commited a crime by any definition under UK law, and his extradition is a farce.

  3. James Pickett

    Gander sauce

    "the United States do not have to present a prima facie case"

    Really? What if the situation were reversed?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Another J.R.?

    The CPS obtain convictions on a regular basis solely on the evidence of confessions in police interviews, without any concern being raised about 'insufficient evidence'.

    The DPP (allegedly) already has McKinnon's signed confession to a crime, yet decides not to prosecute because of 'insufficient evidence'. That could yet be judged an 'irrational' decision if Mr McKinnon's lawyers launch a judicial review of the DPP.

  5. Lionel Baden

    not enough evidence!!!!!

    Yet the americans seem to have plenty !!!


    i dont personally beleive the health situation is as bad as it is it sounds more like a excuse

    but i still dont think he should be handed over !

  6. AC

    still going?

    Deport him already ffs!

  7. Peyton
    Paris Hilton

    i'm confused

    Maybe I don't understand all the nuances of the case well enough - but a confession doesn't count as evidence? I understand a confession being given under duress not counting, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. I also don't understand why autism equates to not being eligible for a custodial sentence - which in my understanding doesn't have to equate to prison, but can be any sort of controlled and hopefully therapeutic environment.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    More to this than meets the eye

    He's only being punished as severely as this for one of two reasons (or possibly both):

    1) He embarrassed NASA / US Government about how easy it was to hack their systems

    2) He found the evidence he was looking for (about alien life) and so is being silenced to prevent him talking about it.

    Who knows what will happen to him when he gets to one of the detention centres in the States - I know that Guantanemo Bay is being "closed" publically, but there must be other places that dont make the news where he could be "transferred" to.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's OK officer, I have Asperger's.

    Can I go now?

  10. Adam Foxton

    Insufficient evidence?

    So he's innocent under local laws then? You'd have thought the US would have presented enough evidence so far.

    How can we deport a citizen when we don't know that there's enough evidence to convict them fairly?!

  11. Edward Miles

    A signed confession...

    ...Is insufficient evidence? What, do we need it written in thirty foot high flaming letters by the creator?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I think it's been suggested that if McKinnon goes to the US the only kind of jail they will send him to is the kind where weak computer nerds get violated anally on a daily basis. Hence the attempts to have him tried or at least incarcerated here.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    > the kind [of jail] where weak computer nerds get violated

    You're surely not suggesting that doesn't happen here are you?

  14. John A Blackley

    Wrong criminal

    Gary McKinnon may - or may not - be guilty of violating US law (as the US won't present its evidence there's no way to judge) but his guilt or innocence is the smaller picture here.

    The big picture is the one-sided 'extradition treaty' between the US and the UK. While the US can request/demand the extradition of a UK citizen without presenting any kind of evidence whatsoever (and our supine politicians will happily try all they know to comply), the same is not true in reverse. Should the UK wish to extradite a US citizen, the case for extradition and prosecution must be fully reviewed and judged in a US court.

    So, who is the more dangerous criminal here? An autistic believer in UFOs who possesses the computer skills necessary to hack pentagon computers (i.e. the same computer skills that could be found in almost any twelve-year-old) or craven, treasonous politicians who knowingly abrogated their duty to protect the citizens of the country that nurtured and pays them?

    Answers in a brown paper bag, please.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @James Pickett


    "the United States do not have to present a prima facie case"

    Really? What if the situation were reversed?


    If the situation were reversed, we would have to provide prima facie evidence to a US court. This is precisely why the "treaty" is widely regarded as being a one-sided shafting.

    A "special relationship" indeed.

  16. Pierre

    Insufficient evidence

    Of course the CPP doesn't have sufficient evidence to prosecute. The Yanks don't have enough evidence of a crime either (they have none. At all. Actually there was no crime in the first place) but it won't stop them... never has, never will. If there's no evidence, that's because he's a terrist and should be killed (or sent to a concentration camp located in Cuba, at the very least). That's the merkin way.

  17. Nigel Brown
    Paris Hilton

    Me luv yoo long time

    This is simply another example of our 'special relationship' with the US - we bend over and they ream our national arse. We rolled over and gave up those bankers a few years ago, and we are doing the same again to McKinnon.

    I am surprised that his attempt to use the Human RIghts Act has failed, it always seems to work for chavs, scum and Muslim schoolgirls......................

    Paris, cos she's used to rolling over.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @James Pickett

    The extradition treaty has not been ratified by the US Congress so it does not apply to them. And they will never ratify it, just as they haven't yet ratified the Geneva Convention or the International War Crimes Court in the Hague.

    You'd think It would make sense to make the treaty binding only when both parties agreed.

    Bloody septics.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So .....

    Every time this crops up, It seems to me that people sticking up for McKinnon purely because they disagree with the UK <--> US (or UK --> US as claimed) extradition treaty. I wonder what their views on McKinnon would be if the country requesting the extradition was a country that shared equal extradition rights.

    On a side note, anyone know of a good news site? The BBC's reporting of this looks like it was written a member of McKinnon's legal defence.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for justice

    Time for Gary to go on an all expense paid holiday to America.

  21. Julian I-Do-Stuff

    Prima Facie Case?

    If the US doesn't have to present a Prima Facie case, then I can't help hoping (wishing?) that some suitable EU Human Rights provision might provide some relief... isn't the absence of a Prima Facie case itself Prima Facie evidence of "arbitrariness" - which is the sort of thing HR law would probably cover?

    It's a pity that UK judges can't strike out/down legislation that contravenes EU HR law - the most I think they can do is declare the UK law (in this case the 2003 Act) "incompatible" and kick it back to parliament.

    That 2003 Act is one-sidedly appalling <extended diatribe deleted - nuff said>

  22. M Room


    The UK confession could be argued to have been obtained under duress - either sign a confession or be sent to the USA for trial is duress.

    As far as I can see, the USA have proved that their super secure systems were hacked but have totally failed to prove any damage (other than to their pride).

    Don't you need all sorts of paper work to travel to the USA - easy, put him down as a drug user and they will refuse a visa :-)

    Mines the one with see through plastic bags of sugar in the pocket.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC Another J.R.

    "The DPP (allegedly) already has McKinnon's signed confession to a crime, yet decides not to prosecute because of 'insufficient evidence'. That could yet be judged an 'irrational' decision if Mr McKinnon's lawyers launch a judicial review of the DPP."

    A confession of a crime is no good without a complainant. If nobody is complaining that a crime has been comitted within his jurisdiction than the DPP cannot order a prosecution. As I understand it the request for extradtion is not within the remit of the DPP.

    Some people seem to be having a problem understanding the distinction between the different government bodies and officers involved here. It's no good simply referring to the whole public sector as "they" or assuming, for example, that the CPS and Home Office are one and the same thing.

    Incidentally, how could McKinnon's lawyers "launch a judicial review of the DPP". They could request one, but without any evidence that the DPP has acted unlawfully they have no chance of getting one.

  24. Sooty


    " I wonder what their views on McKinnon would be if the country requesting the extradition was a country that shared equal extradition rights."

    Their views would probably be based on the evidence presented of a crime if we had an equal extradition treaty, at the moment the only assumption people can make is that, as the US is refusing to present any evidence, it would be laughed out of any sane court.

  25. Elrond Hubbard

    A WAY OUT!

    I think he should go on a rampage smashing up shop windows, or commit something similarly illegal but not as destructive, here in the UK, so that way the British courts will want to prosecute him too on UK soil for these crimes.

    Gary go shoplifting anyway and make it blatantly obvious.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Anonymous Coward

    'as they haven't yet ratified the Geneva Convention '

    The US has ratified the various Geneva Conventions with the exception of two 1977 protocols which amend the previous 1949 Convention.

    And I hate to point this out, the US Senate unanimously ratified the 2003 Extradition Treaty in September 2006.

    But we should be gravely worried about the asymmetries in the treaty regarding prima-facie evidence.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well at least he is getting proof of abduction

    The Americans are acting like kidnappers, the US does not have jurisdiction in the UK.

    Perhaps McKinnon should just burn a few US flags, and claim political asylum in the UK, or some other country..

    Alternatively he could get a patch of land, and devolve from the UK, let's turn this into a Tibetan style problem. His supporters could club together and buy some plot somewhere, would be very useful to be part owner of a country

    Leaving the UK could be the right move, the UK cannot protect its own citizens and appears to harbour relations with the Tyrannical US, who appear to be wanting to get the moniker of the World's Bully Boys.

  28. Danny Craig

    Simple Answer to extradition?

    Ok, so the way I see it, the CPS have nothing to prosecute him in their view, so even with a signed confession, the extradition to the USA will go ahead. Well heres an idea, if he'd committed a crime in the UK, he would have to pay his debt to UK society before he could be extradited to any other country, right?

    Any suggestion as to what he could do to get the CPS to prosecute, hey if deported he'll probably end up spending the rest of his days in an american jail being beaten and screwed. So in his shoes, I might just give the CPS a reason to prosecute me.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Judicial review available for unreasonable/irrational decisions

    'A confession of a crime is no good without a complainant.'


    Absolute rubbish. Why don't you sit in a court for a week or so and find out? Plenty of people get convicted on their own confession in interview when the victim refuses to give evidence.

    'Incidentally, how could McKinnon's lawyers "launch a judicial review of the DPP". They could request one, but without any evidence that the DPP has acted unlawfully they have no chance of getting one.'


    The above poster clearly does not completely understand the rules of evidence, let me further enlighten their expertise on the subject of judicial review of administrative action.

    If a government department (here the CPS) take a decision that is irrational or unreasonable then that decision can be judicially reviewed. You do not, as the poster asserts, have to show that the decision was purely unlawful.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    how long before ...

    we look back with nostalgia at the days of extraordinary rendition. I mean, if this thing becomes the norm, ...

  31. Neil McAliece

    Move country now

    This guy should move to a different country, maybe ven within Europe which doesn't have such a one sided extradition treaty. At least he would be able to get his hands on the evidence this way. As a last resort he could hand this evidence over to the CPS before he eventually returns to the UK.

  32. Sean Hunter

    Prima Facie Evidence

    It seems strange that his lawyer is protesting about the lack of prima facie evidence when he made a signed confession. Much, much less than this would constitute a Prima Facie case for extradition. There is little question that if prima facie evidence was required, when presented with a signed confession the judge would sign the order anyway.

    His lawyers are mounting the OJ Simpson defence, exploiting a general sense of unfairness in order to distract from the facts of the case, which are overwhelmingly against them. Since neither the facts, nor the law are on their side, they are simply banging on the table. He should stop whinging and go and serve the 6 months minimum security he will get when he is convicted.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is the confession worth anything?

    It could be agrued that the confession i worthless as evidence because he has only signed it to avoid extradition the US and a harsher punishment.

    That doesnt necessarily sound like quality evidence to me, and I bet his lawyers are thinking the same, get him tried for it in this country using that "confession", agrue that its not reliable evidence so he get accquited. Then fight the extradition to the US as he has already been tried for it and found innocent.

    Send him over.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Why extradition?

    Why are the 'merkins trying to legally extradite McKinnon, why don't they just kidnap him and fly him out Guantanemo Bay via Shannon, that's what they usually do with people that embarrasses them...

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC - "So...."

    "...purely because they disagree with the UK <--> US (or UK --> US as claimed) extradition treaty."

    personally that's my only 'interest' in the whole thing - seeing if our (UK) government has the spine to stand up to this blatantly unfair treaty, or if they just smile and take it as usual...

    If you're stupid enough to hack US government networks (esp. during the terrorism hysteria of the last 9 years) and then admit it, then it's difficult to have much sympathy beyond the fact that the legal situation _appears_ unjustly biased in favour of the prosecution.

  36. Pierre

    @ Sean Hunter

    The confession IS NOT prima facie evidence. Garry admitted he logged in to some computers, that's not evidence of damage or crime*. The extradition process requires that some minimum damage be caused in the extradition-requiring country. It's this kind of evidence the yanks don't want to provide because the "evidence" they (might) have would be laughed at anywhere but in some small Texas village (where Gary would probably be tried he he's deported).

    *actually even if he had been in the US at the time, it still wouldn't be ground for extradition as computer tampering was an /offense/ not a /crime/ when he did that. It was upgraded in the few years of ridiculous panic and frenzy that followed the "plane in some US building" incident.

  37. Wayland Sothcott

    UFO's the next Pear Harbour

    The Merkins may want all the UFO stuff to come out in a big showie trial. That way we will need DNA tests and ID cards for the world to prove we're not illegal aliens.

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