[JURIST] The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) [official website] announced Friday that accused computer hacker Gary McKinnon [BBC profile; advocacy website] will not face charges [statement] in England and Wales. McKinnon is accused of hacking into NASA, Department of Defense, Air Force, Army and Navy computers in violation of US computer laws [18 USC § 1030] but claims he was trying to find evidence of UFO activity and extraterrestrial technologies. In October Home Secretary Theresa May [official profile] announced that she would block [JURIST report] McKinnon’s extradition to the US for mental health reasons, leaving it up to CPS to determine whether he would face trial in England and Wales. According to the CPS statement:
The potential difficulties in bringing a case in England and Wales now should not be underestimated, not least the passage of time, the logistics of transferring sensitive evidence prepared for a court in the US to London for trial, the participation of US Government witnesses in the trial and the need to fully comply with the duties of disclosure imposed on the CPS. The prospects of a conviction against Mr McKinnon, which reflects the full extent of his alleged criminality, are not high.
Accordingly, no new investigation against McKinnon will be initiated.
In 2010 a member of the UK coalition government indicated that McKinnon’s extradition to the US would be delayed [JURIST report]. May considered an adjournment request from McKinnon’s legal team and agreed to delay a scheduled judicial review in order to determine if he was medically fit for extradition. McKinnon was nearly extradited in August 2008 when the European Court of Human Rights [official website] refused to reconsider the decision to send him to the US. British extradition arrangements, however, kept the case in judicial review for several years. McKinnon was arrested by British police in 2002 and again in 2005.