McKinnon lawyer: the fight will go on

Kaim Todner partner Karen Todner, who has acted for McKinnon since his arrest in 2002, is to issue a judicial review to the High Court over a decision by the Home Secretary to step aside and allow US prosecutors to extradite the 43 year old.

Yesterday, McKinnon received a letter from Alan Johnson, in which he said that McKinnon’s extradition to the US to face the prospect of 60 years in prison “must proceed forthwith”.

Todner said her client is “likely to attempt suicide” if US prosecutors succeed in transferring him across the Atlantic.

“His health has deteriorated massively over the past  few months and he is suffering from severe mental illness. His mother described him as ‘broken’ and I think that sums up his situation,” Todner told The Lawyer.

“I solely practise extradition cases and I’m aware of the problems with the extradition act. It’s not just that that someone is extradited to another country but also that they are imprisoned in another country.”

Todner added that she felt “passionate and emotive” about her client’s situation after nearly eight years fighting against his deportation.

Applications for judicial reviews are normally given three months to prepare but Todner and her team has been given just seven days.

If the judicial review application fails, Todner’s team will issue a Rule 39 application at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Rule 39 allows the court to issue an injunction against McKinnon’s extradition, while a commissioner from the court reviews his case.

Todner will cite McKinnon’s health in the judicial review application, arguing that any extradition will be a violation of Article 3 (inhumane treatment) and Article 8 (right to privacy) of the Human Rights Act (1998).

“We would hope that our domestic courts would review the evidence and prevent his extradition,” added Todner. “If not then we will seek a verdict from European Courts.”

Applications for two previous judicial reviews have already been rejected by the High Court but neither included the medical evidence that features in this one, which to be delivered by next Friday,

In October, Doughty Street Chambers’ Ed Fitzgerald QC, failed in an appeal against the High Court decision to extradite the 43-year-old (see story), who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome (a form of autism), arguing that the ruling was against his human rights.

Todner will continue to instruct barristers Fitzgerald and Ben Cooper, also at Doughty Street Chambers.

McKinnon is accused by US prosecutors of hacking into Pentagon and Nasa computers in 2001, causing $700,000 worth of damage.