Doughty Street fails to win extradition appeal for computer hacker

McKinnon, who has Aspergers syndrome, attracted wide publicity after Lord Justice Burton ruled in July that he should be extradited to the US to face charges of hacking into Pentagon and Nasa computer networks. In the US he is deemed a serious offender.

The High Court dismissed two claims for a judicial review. Fitzgerald argued that the previous ruling was against McKinnon’s human rights to which Burton LJ responded that US public interest in the case outweighed the importance of McKinnon’s human rights and as such an Article 8 argument at the appeal stage was likely to fail.

The presiding judge also ruled that former home secretary Jacqui Smith had taken into account McKinnon’s Asperger’s syndrome condition when considering the US extradition request.

The case is expected to have ramifications for the case of businessman Ian Norris, who the US wants to extradite on charges of price fixing and obstructing justice (24 January 2008).

The Norris case will be heard by five Justices of the Supreme Court, including Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, in the Supreme Court at the end of November.

On the McKinnon case Fitzgerald was instructed by Kaim Todner partner Karen Todner to act for McKinnon. The Treasury Solicitors instructed Three Raymond Buildings’ Hugo Keith QC to act on behalf of the Secretary of State for Home Affairs.

Norris will be represented by Richard Gordon QC of Brock Court Chambers, who was instructed by White & Case partner Alistair Graham.

The US Government has instructed 6 King’s Bench Walk’s David Perry QC, while the Secretary of State for Home Affairs has instructed Serle Court’s Khawar Qureshi QC.