Date set for Nasa hacker high court hearing

The high court will hear Gary McKinnon's application for a judicial review of a CPS decision not to prosecute him in the UK
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

A date has been set for the high court to consider whether self-confessed Nasa hacker Gary McKinnon should be tried in the UK.

Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr Justice Wilkie will hear the Londoner's application for a judicial review on 14 July, McKinnon's solicitor, Karen Todner, told ZDNet UK on Tuesday.

McKinnon, accused of the "biggest military hack of all time" by US prosecutors, is pursuing a judicial review of a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not to prosecute him in this country. Prosecution in the UK would enable McKinnon to avoid extradition to the US, where he runs the risk of being placed in a 'supermax' prison for up to 60 years, according to his legal team.

If the judges grant McKinnon's application for the judicial review, then the review itself will be heard on the same day. "They'll listen to the application, and say 'We agree, permission granted', or 'We disagree, permission denied'," said Todner.

The high court judges are also in the process of reviewing whether former home secretary Jacqui Smith was correct in law when she denied McKinnon's second appeal to the Home Office, despite being aware that he had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.

Todner said the two judges would be likely to pass judgement on both cases at the same time, but said they would be unlikely to give that judgement on 14 July.

If the judges find Smith was in error, the decision on McKinnon's extradition could be passed back to the new home secretary, Alan Johnson. However, if they rule that Smith was right, McKinnon will appeal to the House of Lords, Todner said. McKinnon's team will then take their case to the European Court of Human Rights if a House of Lords appeal fails, she added.

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