A senior Government law officer was accused yesterday of “failing to confront the human rights arguments” against forcing a British “UFO eccentric” to face trial in America for hacking into US military networks.
A QC told two High Court judges that extraditing Gary McKinnon (43), who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, would lead to “disastrous consequences” because of his medical condition, including possible psychosis and suicide.
Mr McKinnon from Wood Green, north London, is asking the judges to overturn a refusal by Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), to put him on trial in the UK on charges of computer misuse.
If there is no UK prosecution Mr McKinnon would inevitably be extradited to stand trial in the US, the judges heard.
Edward Fitzgerald QC, appearing for Mr McKinnon, accused the DPP of misapplying the law when he decided there was “insufficient evidence” to support a UK prosecution under the Computer Misuse Act, even though the hacker had admitted his crimes.
Mr Fitzgerald said the DPP had also failed to confront the new evidence concerning Mr McKinnon's medical condition and deal with the human rights issues it raised.
If sent to the US, Mr McKinnon is likely to receive a substantial prison sentence, possibly served in a ‘supermax’ prison used for high risk inmates.
Judgment has been reserved and a decision is expected by the end of July.