UK authorities to decide on McKinnon pursuit

McKinnon decision due in October
McKinnon decision due in October

UK prosecutors are to meet Metropolitan Police officers in late November to decide whether to open a new criminal investigation into Nasa and Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon.

The meeting will decide whether evidence will be gathered against McKinnon in preparation for a possible UK trial, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and police said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

"The Crown Prosecution Service and Metropolitan Police Service have agreed to form a joint panel to decide whether a new criminal investigation into the allegations against Gary McKinnon should take place," said the statement. "It is proposed that the panel will convene in late November once some preliminary enquiries have been made by both the CPS and the MPS."

SC Magazine UK understands that medical evidence that halted McKinnon's extradition to the US may be taken into account by the authorities at the meeting.

The Home Office decided to drop extradition proceedings against the self-confessed hacker in October after weighing up evidence on his medical condition. McKinnon, who has Asperger's Syndrome, a condition on the autistic spectrum, was found to have been at risk of suicide if extradited.

McKinnon's extradition proceedings began in 2002, and continued for a decade. Crossbench peer Lord Maginnis said on 1 November that if McKinnon's case went before the UK courts, it could take another ten years.

"Justice has again been put on the 'long finger' by a home secretary who has effectively said, 'I will delegate the matter, without time considerations, to the courts'," said Maginnis. "Hence, a once 35 year-old with autism spectrum disorder - now 45 years old - is tossed in life's dustbin for, what, perhaps another ten years, and that is justice?"

The CPS decided not to pursue a UK prosecution in 2009 on the grounds that it had insufficient evidence to prosecute McKinnon here.

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