NASA & UFO Hacker Gary McKinnon Will Not Face Prosecution in UK

NASA & UFO Hacker Gary McKinnon Will Not Face Prosecution in UK

Infamous NASA hacker Gary McKinnon who broke into US government computer system, while hunting for evidence of UFOs and fought a long fight against extradition, has been told that he will now not face prosecution in the UK. After discussing the case with US Department of Justice and the police, The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided the appropriate jurisdiction for the McKinnon case to be heard is the US. According to Karen Todner, McKinnon's solicitor, the decision on Friday is an "interesting" one given that he was first arrested and questioned by UK police.

The reasons for that decision were:
  1. The harm occurred in the US - the activity was directed against the military infrastructure of the US;
  2. An investigation had already been launched in the US;
  3. There were a large number of witnesses, most of whom were located in the US;
  4. All of the physical evidence (with the exception of Mr McKinnon's computer) was located in the US;
  5. The US prosecutors were able to bring a case that reflected the full extent of Mr McKinnon's alleged criminality; and
  6. The bulk of the unused material was located in the US. Given the nature of the offences, this inevitably included highly sensitive information and the US courts were best placed to deal with any issues arising in relation to this material.

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.


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