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McKinnon might get UK hacking trial after all

Extradition review not binding, says attorney general

Accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon could be tried in UK and not extradited, according to Blighty's top legal adviser.

A recent judicial review concluded that the much criticised and absurdly lengthy extradition proceedings against McKinnon were conducted fairly. But Dominic Grieve, the UK's Attorney General, said the review offered “guidelines only”, The Telegraph reports.

Grieve was asked in the House of Commons whether judges might have the discretion to allow McKinnon to be tried in the UK or if dealing with an extradition would always take precedence.

“That is touched on in Sir Scott Baker’s report and it is one of the matters which will have to be taken into account when the government responds to it," Grieve replied.

“His proposals are rather more in the nature of guidelines rather than the implementation of the forum bar itself. That is one of the matters the government is going to have to consider.”

Janis Sharp, McKinnon's mum, told El Reg that she was "pleased" with Grieve's remarks because they offer fresh hope that her son will be tried in the UK.

"Dominic Grieve is a QC and is always very careful with his words, so for him as Attorney General to say this and then to respond to and not to shy away from questions specifically about Gary is good news indeed. Dominic Grieve has always insisted that Gary should be tried in the UK and that the forum should be brought into use by our judges in extradition cases," she said.

"It's clear to everyone that British citizens need the same protections afforded to Americans and to virtually all other nationalities," she added.

McKinnon, 45, is accused of hacking into Pentagon and NASA computers in 2001 and 2002. He has admitted accessing the networks in a hunt for evidence of UFO but denies causing any damage, contrary to US claims otherwise.

The Scot, who has been fighting extradition proceedings since November 2002, has been diagnosed with Asperger's, a form of autism and something medical experts and campaigners say makes him a suicide risk if he is subjected to the rigours of an extradition to the US, trial and likely imprisonment. ®

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