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US prosecution of McKinnon 'spiteful', says ex-top cop

No reason why Pentagon hacker can't be tried in UK

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The senior former policeman in charge of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit squad which first arrested Gary McKinnon has described the ongoing US prosecution of the Pentagon hacker as "spiteful".

Marc Kirby, retired former detective inspector at the NHTCU, was in charge of the team which first arrested McKinnon for cybercrime offences in 2002. US attempts to extradite McKinnon only started three years later in 2005, after the signature of a controversial extradition treaty between the US and UK.

Kirby, who led the successful prosecution of the gang behind the failed $420m cyberheist at Sumitomo in October 2004 and is now a lecturer in computer forensics at Cranfield, told The Register that despite the passage of time a UK prosecution for McKinnon's admitted crimes was still possible. The former detective joins the growing list of those who want to see McKinnon tried in the UK.

McKinnon's legal team has won a further judicial review of the case, scheduled to take place on 25 and 26 May. Senior judges will consider whether home secretary Alan Johnson was correct in allowing extradition proceedings to proceed in spite of medical warnings that McKinnon was insufficiently strong mentally to cope with the strain of a US trial and likely imprisonment. The hacker was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome back in 2008, shortly after a failed Appeal to the House of Lords.

The likelihood that a Conservative minority or Con-Lib coalition government will be formed following inconclusive election results last week is likely to play in McKinnon's favour. The Tories moved motions against the US-UK extradition treaty calling for its reform in support of McKinnon during the last parliament, while LibDem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne has been a long-standing supporter of the McKinnon campaign. ®

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