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Hacker Ryan Cleary has Asperger's syndrome

Ryan Cleary, the Essex teenager accused of launching DDoS attacks at the likes of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a court heard today.

Cleary, who was arrested this week as the result of investigations by Scotland Yard and FBI, appeared at City of Westminster magistrates court in a hearing relating to the five offences under the Criminal Law and Computer Misuse Act with which he has been charged.

His defence lawyer told the court that Cleary suffers from the same form of autism as fellow hacker Gary Mckinnon, whom the United States its trying to extradite over charges that the penetrated computers operated by the Pentagon and NASA. Cleary also suffers from agoraphobia, district judge Nicholas Evans was told.

Cleary was granted bail at the hearing but objections to his release from the prosecution mean he will remain in custody at least until Monday, when an appeal will be heard at Southwark crown court. He has not yet entered a plea in respect of any of the charges he faces.

Defence lawyer Ben Cooper said there were concerns over the effects of incarceration on his client because of his condition, which was recently diagnosed by a psychologist. He said Cleary is highly intelligent but agoraphobic and has difficulty interacting with people, presumably unless they are on the end of an Internet connection.