New Home Secretary "Powerless" To Stop McKinnon Extradition

In what could be seen as a prelude to the end of extradition fight from the self-confessed hacker Gary McKinnon, the newly appointed home secretary Alan Johnson is apparently not in a position to stop the extradition of McKinnon to the US, the High Court heard.

Adding woes to the injury, Hugo Keith QC, acting for the home secretary, said that the government could find no reason to forbid the extradition even if it was capable to do so.

However, the court has already been presented with evidences from a couple of world’s renowned autism experts that Gary McKinnon is suffering from a psychological disorder Asperger’s Syndrome.

But the home secretary could only interfere on medical grounds if McKinnon suffered more severe consequences than those forecasted by medical experts, the court heard. Backing the same, Keith said, “To engage the [European Human Rights] convention, the suffering must be great”.

Furthermore, McKinnon’s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, QC, informed the court that there was “clear, uncontradicted expert evidence” that the stress induced due to extradition could eventually lead to pyschosis or even suicide.

Charging former home secretary Jacqui Smith for reaching to “flawed decision” in the wake of evidences of poor medical condition of the hacker, Fitzgerald told: “She underestimated the gravity of the situation without obtaining evidence of her own. She is simply not addressing the issue”.

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Our Comments

The court asserted that it will decide a date to hear the further judicial review of the decision made by director of public prosecutions (DPP) to not to try McKinnon in UK. Is it a further example of judicial cowardice by the government?

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