UFO Hacker will face no charges says prosecutor
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced that Gary McKinnon will face no charges in the UK. McKinnon was at the centre of an extradition battle with the United States, which wanted to prosecute him for accessing US government computers in 2002, which they said caused nearly half a million pounds damage. McKinnon maintained that he was looking for evidence of government knowledge of UFOs.
He was arrested in 2002 and again in 2005 and the US lodged a request for his extradition in 2006. McKinnon would have faced up to sixty years in prison in the US, but, three months ago, the home secretary announced that the extradition would not take place as he suffered from Asperger's syndrome and would present a suicide risk. The US Department of Justice said it was "disappointed" with the extradition decision at the time.
In a statement, the CPS's Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Kier Starmer QC, and Mark Rowley, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, said that they had convened a joint panel to discuss the issue and decide whether a new criminal investigation should take place. They decided that the original reasoning for the trial being held in the US still held, and looked into the possibility of holding the trial in the UK. This would have involved transferring witnesses and sensitive physical evidence to the UK. The panel consulted with the US Department of Justice as to whether this would be possible, given that they believed that "the prospects of a conviction against Mr McKinnon, which reflects the full extent of his alleged criminality, are not high".
According to the statement, the US authorities "indicated to us that they would be willing to co-operate with a prosecution in England and Wales if that would serve the interests of justice." However, the US authorities did not feel that transferring all the witnesses and evidence to the UK would be in that interest, given the panel's representations. The statement goes on to say: "That is a decision the US authorities are fully entitled to reach and we respect their decision." On that basis, the panel concluded that a new criminal investigation should not be started and the Assistant Commissioner accepted that advice.