CPS will not prosecute McKinnon in UK

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will not prosecute McKinnon in the UK for computer misuse, claiming the charges don't match the seriousness of what he's been accused of in the US.

British hacker Gary McKinnon is one big step closer to extradition after the [a href="http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/pressreleases/109_09.html"

rel="nofollow"]Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced[/a] that it won't be prosecuting him in the UK for allegations of computer misuse.

Alison Saunders, head of the CPS Organised Crime Division, said in a statement that there was although there was evidence to prosecute McKinnon for nine occasions where he admitted to criminal activity, it did not come near to reflecting the [a

href="https://www.itpro.com/104684/alleged-nasa-hacker-begins-extradition-fight" target="_blank"]criminality alleged by the US authorities[/a].

"These were not random experiments in computer hacking, but a deliberate effort to breach US defence systems at a critical time which caused well documented damage," she said.

"They may have been conducted from McKinnon's home computer and in that sense there is a UK link but the target and the damage were transatlantic."

The CPS did not consider McKinnon's diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, as the case had not reached the second stage, which focuses on whether it is in the public interest to prosecute.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, was consulted on the decision.

Graham Cluley, security consultant at Sophos, said that the news would come as a blow to the IT community as he had [a

href="https://www.itpro.com/607857/politicians-want-mckinnon-to-serve-time-in-uk" target="_blank"]a lot of sympathy and support[/a].

He said: "The real question is should we really be making such an example of a guy who was apparently just a UFO conspiracy theory nut?

"There's a danger that McKinnon is being used as a whipping-boy by a country embarrassed about the poor security of its computer in the months after 9/11."

However, this isn't the end of McKinnon's legal battle. Last month, the High Court ruled that McKinnon [a

href="https://www.itpro.com/609628/hacker-mckinnon-can-challenge-us-extradition" target="_blank"]could seek a judicial review [/a] of the government's decision to extradite him.