Feeds

'Pentagon hacker' plays joker on US authorities

Discloses plea offer, pleads human rights

Boost IT visibility and business value

Gary McKinnon, the hobby hacker who is fighting against a US extradition order, has pulled a legal wild card on his accusers in bid to face trial at home.

In the court of appeal yesterday, McKinnon's lawyers made reference to discussions that have been kept secret since 2003 when a plea bargain was considered, said Karen Todner, McKinnon's lawyer.

"We went for a plea bargain," said Todner, "The Americans said, if he pleaded guilty and didn't oppose the extradition he would get a much shorter sentence of three or four years - as opposed to ten or twelve - and he would come home within six to twelve months to serve the rest of his sentence."

McKinnon was adamant that he wanted to face trial in the UK and refused the bargain, yet agreed with the US that the deal should be kept secret and never drawn out and used in any subsequent court hearing.

However, said Todner, US prosecutors exhumed the plea bargain and put it before judges during his extradition hearing last year. So as far as the defence was concerned, it was fair game to use the bargain in his appeal.

The plea bargain is useful for McKinnon's appeal, said Todner, because of Cobb v. U.S.A., which in 2001 found that coercing someone into extradition would infringe their human rights.

The US bargainers had done just that, Todner told The Register: "They said, 'if you don't go voluntarily we'll go for the maximum sentence and you won't be repatriated. That, we argued, is a breach of his human rights."

McKinnon has been feeling the pressure of the trial and stayed away from yesterday's appeal hearing due to illness. His blog quoted a ZDNet story that reported heart palpitations and a hospital visit.

"It's been going on for five years now," said Todner, "If he'd been sentenced here he'd be out by now. It's had a traumatic effect on his life, with the pressure of facing a phenomenal sentence in the US."

Lords Justice Goldring and Kay will pronounce judgement on McKinnon's appeal against extradition next week.®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Has Europe cut the UK adrift on data protection?
EU reckons we've one foot out the door anyway
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Government's 'Google Review' copyright rules become law
Welcome in a New Era ... of copyright litigation
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.