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Court rejects computer hacker's judicial review

9 October 2009

The High Court has rejected an application by computer hacker Gary McKinnon for permission to apply for judicial review against the home secretary on the ground of breach of his right to privacy (article 8 of the ECHR).

McKinnon is accused by the US government of deliberately hacking into sensitive military computers at a time of heightened security in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, causing $800,000 of damage.

He lost a High Court challenge against his extradition in July.

Giving judgment in R (on the application of McKinnon) v Home Secretary [2009] EWHC 2449 (Admin), Lord Justice Stanley Burnton said McKinnon’s extradition to the US was a “lawful and proportionate response” to his alleged offending.

“It was and is our judgment that there was and is no real prospect of the claimant’s article 8 arguments succeeding.”

As a result, he refused permission to apply for judicial review on the article 8 ground.

Stanley Burnton said that extradition of McKinnon would also not involve or result in treatment that breached his rights under article 3 (inhuman or degrading treatment).

Mr Justice Wilkie agreed.

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