McKinnon extradition decision date set for mid-October

Self-confessed NASA hacker Gary McKinnon will hear within three months whether he will be sent to the US to face charges, the high court in London has heard
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

NASA hacker Gary McKinnon will learn within three months whether he is being extradited to the US despite worries about his mental health, a court heard on Tuesday.

Gary Mckinnon
Gary McKinnon. Image credit: Tom Espiner

Home secretary Theresa May will make a decision on or around 16 October, two judges at a High Court case hearing were told. The judges asked the Home Office to set a date, ZDNet understands.

The decision has been delayed until then because of May's "all-consuming" involvement in security for this summer's London Olympics, Home Office lawyers told the court, according to the Guardian. The minister would also prefer to make the announcement when parliament is in session, they said.

The judges said a potential judicial review of the decision has been "pencilled in" for late November, the report added.

The US is seeking McKinnon's extradition on charges of causing damage by hacking into US military and NASA systems. The London resident admitted to UK police in 2002 that he had broken into the systems, but said he was only looking for evidence of extra-terrestrial life. The extradition proceedings against McKinnon started in June 2005.

On Thursday, a deadline passed for McKinnon to undergo a fresh Home Office medical assessment as to whether the extradition would put him at risk of suicide. He has Asperger's Syndrome, a condition on the autistic spectrum, and experts in the condition have said he may take his own life if he is removed from home and imprisoned.

McKinnon missed the deadline by declining to be tested by Professor Thomas Fahy, a psychiatrist appointed by the Home Office, on the grounds that Fahy is not an expert in autism.

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