Relief as computer hacker told he will face no action in UK

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Computer hacker Gary McKinnon wept tears of relief yesterday after it was decided he would face no criminal action in Britain.

The decision followed a review of the case after the Government’s decision to block his extradition to the United States on health grounds.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Keir Starmer QC, said a joint panel of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and police had decided there should not be a new criminal investigation.

Mr McKinnon, from Wood Green, north London, would have faced up to 60 years in prison if convicted in the US.

The 46-year-old, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, was permitted to stay in the UK after medical reports showed he was highly likely to try to kill himself if extradited.

Both Prime Minister David Cameron, who held talks on the case with US President Barack Obama, and his deputy, Nick Clegg, had condemned plans to send Mr McKinnon to the US and on October 16, Home Secretary Theresa May decided not to extradite him and said it was for the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide whether Mr McKinnon had a case to answer in a UK court.

The decision “disappointed” the US authorities, but a statement from the US Department of Justice yesterday stressed its “continuing collaboration with the CPS and British law enforcement authorities on a wide range of shared concerns”.

There was, however, no mention of the extradition warrant.

Mr McKinnon’s mother, Janis Sharp, said: “I feel fantastic; it’s just wonderful. The next thing I would like to get, impossible though it seems, would be a pardon from President Obama.

“I think it’s possible because I think Obama seems like a good person, and so does his wife.”

She said the news was “amazing because it’s my birthday”.