back to article McKinnon launches second extradition challenge

A judicial review of former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's handling of the Gary McKinnon extradition proceedings began in London today. The hearing, which is expected to last two days, will consider whether Smith acted correctly in allowing extradition proceedings against the UFO-hunter-turned-hacker to proceed, despite his …


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  1. Dennis

    trial in the US or UK

    Where should the trial be?

    Should one defendant be flown to the US at the expense of the US courts? Or should a dozen witnesses be flown to the UK at the expense of the UK courts?

    Which option is "in the public interest"?

    If he really wants to stay in the UK he needs to get locked up for a serious offence. Murder perhaps?

    Mine's the one with the stolen barrister's wig in the pocket.

  2. Richard Kay

    Petition closes soon - please sign

    If you are a UK citizen and either think Gary shouldn't be deported or the UK shouldn't have a one sided extradition treaty with the US and have not already signed it, please sign the petition opposing his extradition by 15 June:

  3. Bob Hoskins

    Free Gary

    'nuff said.

  4. Pierre

    If you can't do the time...

    ... don't look at an open merkin computer the wrong way.

    Unless you're Chinese, Russian, Romanian, or pretty much anything but British. Oh, and it helps if you have malicious intentions. Being helpful and pointing to the operator how his machine is full of holes is a no-no.


    Also, I'd sign any petition you want but please, please, don't make him sing!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Next time a hacker...

    ...compromises your machine or just simply deletes it for fun, hope you all realise that he probably has some psychological disorder and its not really his fault.

    Anyway, course Gary is depressed and could be suicidal - not like any of these appeals is actually likely to save his neck.

    Can't do the time - don't do the crime!

  6. Ricky H

    petition signed, so should you

    the one-sided extradition policy needs a million candle power lamp shone on it because it's completely unfair. before any decision is made the playing field should be level.

    smile, because i'm still confident he will be acquitted of all accusations.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It would be 'informative' if the petition could be mentioned in a bootnote in he article..?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Late diagnosis

    He's a hacker with an obsessive interest in UFOs and they *only recently* diagnosed an ASD? It is more or less a prerequisite for either, never mind both. Plainly no one took an interest till it became available as a possible legal defence.

  9. david skinner
    Thumb Down


    Am I the only skepical one here that thinks he is pulling every trick in the trade to get out of being extradited!

    First he's diagnosed with aspergers syndrom and now he's suicidal.

    Just man up and get it over with, if he wasn't so stupid in the first place he wouldn't of gotten caught and had to face the music!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just don't get it?

    I'm a British citizen. I live in the UK. I am not subject to US law, nor am I subject to Iranian law. If I was gay, I would be breaking Iranian law, but since as I've already said, I'm not subject to Iranian law, being gay in the UK is not a crime.

    So, why is Gary being charged under US law? He's not subject to it.

    Why are the courts struggling over this? Is because it involves computers and because judges don't come from this modern age, they just go along with whatever they are told so that they don't look ill informed?

    If he has commited a crime, it must be a British or international one, if its the former he should be prosecuted in the UK and the latter he should be prosecuted by an international court.

    Can anyone please explain to me why this bloody obvious point is not being pointed out by Garys lawyers? Don't they understand how computers work either?

  11. Dennis
    Thumb Down

    Re: Hmmm.....

    "Am I the only skepical one here that thinks he is pulling every trick in the trade"

    No, you're not the only one. But it's probably his legal aid lawyers.

    They haven't tried the "he was so addicted to his computer that he was no longer responsible for his actions" excuse.

  12. system

    RE: Petition closes soon

    That petition is a bit wide ranging isn't it? Should someone be protected from extradition for murder simply because they have aspergers? Protected from extradition to countries where the extradition agreement is not one way? Protected from being extradited from their home countries to Britain?

    It doesn't even mention the U.S in the petition, and the government has already given an answer to the one sided thing in a previous petition which addressed that charge specifically. If you want another shot at it,

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    "US prosecutors, by contrast, aren't obliged to present any evidence in order to secure extradition, under the terms of the one-sided extradition treaty between the US and UK."

    The US turned over a soldier to the UK on the charge of treason back in the 1980s. How can a US service member be charged with treason by a country of which he was not a citizen?

  14. Anonymous John

    @ I just don't get it?

    The Internet allows a criminal and victim to be in different countries. It seems entirely reasonably to me that the country where the victim is should have jurisdiction.

  15. James Turner

    @AC 16:05

    But if you visit the US then you're bound by their laws. Generally you're under the law of the county where your actions happen. The tricky bit with computers is defining where the action is. The servers are in the US, so it's not unreasonable to consider whether the crime was committed in that country.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proper defence

    He should have said the BBC paid him to do it.

  17. Rolf Howarth

    If you can't do the time...

    @AC 15:01

    As has been pointed out ad infinitum, the whole case is not about saying he shouldn't be punished for his foolishness but the question of WHERE he should be tried.

    Let's say you forward a smutty chain email to your mate who's working on an oil rig off Saudi Arabia... are YOU volunteering to be extradited out there to be punished under their very strict anti-pornography laws? No? I didn't think so. Or maybe you're thinking of posting a comment about Tibet on a Chinese-hosted blog site. Do you fancy a couple of years in a Chinese labour camp for your efforts?

    There are perfectly good laws in this country to deal with hacking offences, so the question is why isn't he being tried here?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    US Jails (not Gaols)

    US jails are sub-standard, not that many countries have decent detention centres.

    Still, I would reject an extradition claim purely on the basis that the Americans have no intention of treating him with due care and respect.

    They treat their own incarcerated citizens as dogs.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    McKinnon the Man

    Someone should really interview him, and if done well that tends to stop US involvement, they are media centric.

    It is daft, one UFO hunter, sort of X Files really, and that is the spin to put on it, the US military should be able to secure their systems, and they didn't back then. So, whilst his actions have caused damage in as much as the computers need to be reinstalled, they would have to be reinstalled anyhow because of how bad their security was.

    It is not the case he used advanced technique, he just used simple password cracks and passwordless accounts, he may have escalated and used the systems to compromise further, but again their networks should have caught this stuff, and it is not that hard to do.

    It wasn't an attack to destroy, it was to find information on UFOs.

    There is also the matter of torture that the US appear to have allowed, and on that alone all extradition treaties should be null and void under international law.

  20. Wayland Sothcott

    Not enough evidence

    If the CPS say there is not enough evidence to prosecute him, presumably the merkins have some evidence. The crime was committed in the UK on an american server. The physical location of the server is not the issue since the Internet can handle that. The aledged criminal was doing the crime whilst physically sitting in the UK.

    To summerize.

    1. American owned computer.

    2. Crime happening in the UK.

  21. Rob Crawford

    Uber hacker McKinnon is not

    Firstly do the crime then do the time.


    1: Why have the network, security and admin staff of these secure (?) sites not been had legal action taken against them. Ever heard of denying access based on source IP address, or even heard of firewalls or passwords ?

    2: The term scapegoat comes to mind, he made us look bad lets put him away. Instead of holding up their hands and say "We where crap lets take it as a lucky escape and clean up our act"

    3: Totally one sided extradition treaty where a UK citizen can be extradited simply through accusation (there are other examples) without any proper evidence being produced. I wish to add that the US will not extradite their citizens to the UK unless the UK goverment jumps through hoops.

    4: By opposing extradition you are counted as having fled from custody and will receive a more severe sentence.

    5: He never set foot in the US and they waited for years before deciding to make an example of him.

    6: Lets face it in the US you are forced to plead guilty, if you say "Not Guilty" you are fucked (unless you come from the right family)

    Prosecute him where he (allegedly) committed the crime.

  22. Steen Hive

    @Next time a hacker

    "Can't do the time - don't do the crime!"

    You are aware that he is to be extradited under a retrospective treaty, anonymous knuckle-dragger? Further, that what he did at the time he did it probably wasn't even an imprisonable offence in the UK at all?

    More to the point, the UK has other international obligations to ensure that it doesn't extradite people to regimes that practice indefinite detention without trial, torture and judicial murder.

  23. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Money, money, money puts the Lawyers into Ambulance Chasing Spin Mode.

    "More to the point, the UK has other international obligations to ensure that it doesn't extradite people to regimes that practice indefinite detention without trial, torture and judicial murder." .... By Steen Hive Posted Wednesday 10th June 2009 09:32 GMT

    Should that be the case, Steen Hive, then the extradition and prosecution are a malicious and perverse farce, perpetrated by those whom one would have thought would know better? It is though not surprising just how easy so many are bought for a wad of cash/fistful of dollars.

    Prostitution and Pimping is everywhere, and in so many different forms too.

    [Crikey, an Automatic Handle Update handled sublimely. Bravo El Reg]

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    StarTrek is here. We have transporter technology!

    @James Turner

    "But if you visit the US then you're bound by their laws. Generally you're under the law of the county where your actions happen. The tricky bit with computers is defining where the action is. The servers are in the US, so it's not unreasonable to consider whether the crime was committed in that country."

    If you take my earlier gay analogy then, if photographs of me commiting a homosexual act appear on an Iranian server, does that mean I should be sent to Iran to be hanged? Of course not, because in the UK, being gay isn't a crime. Hacking IS a crime in the UK though, so its UK law that he broke. He used a computer located in the UK, and he was located here while he was using it.

    He did not at any point during his offence physically enter US sovereign territory or a US embassy, nor was he located in a neutral location like the mid Atlantic on a boat or aircraft. It doesn't matter a hoot where the computers he hacked were located, his illegal activity began and ended in the UK because the only law he was subject to at the time of the crime was UK law. (Unless the title of this post has come true - maybe thats what he found?)

    If this basic fact is to be ignored, then am I to assume that because I have posted on American servers, critical threads about US government activities, I am to be tried under US treason laws?

    Its William Wallace all over again. Wheres my tinfoil hat?

  25. Bob Hoskins

    An attack on one.... an attack on all.

    A hard lesson that a couple of goverments are about to learn.

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