British Court Gives McKinnon Extradition Reprieve with New Judicial Review

The British High Court has granted approval for a judicial review of the Home Secretary's decision not to hear medical evidence for hacker Gary McKinnon, who is accused of breaking into U.S. military computers.

The British High Court has given the thumbs up to a judicial review of the Home Secretary's decision to allow the extradition process for hacker Gary McKinnon to move forward.

The court's decision is yet another twist in the roughly eight-year effort to bring McKinnon back to the United States to face charges that he hacked into computers belonging to NASA as well as the U.S. Department of Defense, Army, Air Force and Navy during 2001 and 2002. According to a report in British newspaper The Register, McKinnon's fate may not be decided until the spring.

"I anticipate a hearing some time in April or May 2010," McKinnon's attorney, Karen Todner, said in a statement Wednesday. "Clearly Gary will remain in the U.K. pending that judicial review."

The court's ruling follows British Home Secretary Alan Johnson's refusal in December to block McKinnon's extradition based on medial evidence. McKinnon's lawyers have long said he has Asperger Syndrome and his condition should be taken into account. McKinnon has claimed he broke into military computers in search of evidence of extraterrestrial life.

McKinnon's battle to stay in the U.K. has attracted a great deal of attention in the IT community, with some being vocal in their support for McKinnon. A poll of 550 IT professionals by Sophos in 2009 found that 71 percent of respondents believed McKinnon should not be extradited to the United States.