Extradite McKinnon and everyone loses - except McKinnon

So then, Gary McKinnon, the alleged hacker who broke into secured government computers, looks set to face extradition to the US, following a court decision earlier this week.

A lot has been made about McKinnon causing up to $900,000 in damage in 14 US states during 2001/2, but I doubt these figures are anywhere

near accurate - they're probably overstated by a factor of ten or more.

But that's beside the point. In allowing the extradition of McKinnon to go ahead, the British (and the US) authorities run the very real risk of making a martyr of the guy.

He will almost certainly go on to achieve considerable notoriety in the UK, probably landing a book deal, if the case attracts the oxygen of publicity across the Atlantic.

McKinnon's fate now lies in the hands of John Reid, the British home secretary.

If Reid allows the extradition to go ahead, the case will cost big money, as well as go the wrong way for the government in terms of publicity.

The only winner, ironically, even though he may not appreciate it at this early stage, will be McKinnon himself.

Stupidity reigns once again in the British legal system...