A High Court judge has granted permission for a judicial review of Home Secretary Alan Johnson’s decision to allow the extradition of hacker Gary McKinnon to the US.
Mr McKinnon is accused of hacking into the US military computer systems and faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted (ed: you can read our extensive coverage of the McKinnon case here).
The court’s decision came as a relief for the family and supporters of McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, an autistic condition, and is suffering from severe mental stress which has led him to harvest suicidal tendencies.
Karen Todner, Gary McKinnon’s lawyer said that she ‘welcomed’ the court’s decision but also added that her client was in a ‘very poor mental state’.
Todner also said that "I would urge Mr. Johnson to review his decision, and I appeal to [US President] Obama to withdraw the application for extradition. Mr. McKinnon's suffering has gone on long enough.”
Janis Sharp, the mother of the Glasgow-born hacker, commenting on the decision, said that she felt “incredible, indescribable" relief and praised the judge for taking an ‘honorable and decent’ decision.
Justice Mitting, the judge who allowed that judicial review, said that the Home Secretary may have acted unlawfully in allowing the extradition of McKinnon to the US in the light of fresh medical evidence filed by the applicant.
As a reminder, Gary McKinnon pleaded guilty and has been condemned for what he has done. However, whether he needs to be extradited to the US where prison life is significantly less rosy than in the UK, remains to be seen. Let's hope that the Home Secretary has some common sense and decides to allow McKinnon to stay in the UK.