After ten years of legal battles, it seems that NASA hacker Garry McKinnon is finally off the hook. UK authorities decided that they would not commence a criminal investigation against him.
In a joint statement, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) reveal that the decision comes after consultations with the US authorities.
Back in 2002, the US Department of Justice, the UK police and the CPS decided that McKinnon should be tried in the United States because that’s where all the evidence and the witnesses were, and that’s where the harm occurred.
In 2009, a judge agreed that the USA was “the appropriate forum for his prosecution.”
However, back in October, UK Home Secretary Theresa May decided not to extradite McKinnon to the United States because of his medical condition. At the time, she also appointed the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide whether or not the hacker would be prosecuted in the UK for his crimes.
Since there was no criminal investigation against McKinnon in the England or Wales, UK authorities decided that one plausible solution would be to bring all the evidence and the witnesses from the US to the country.
“After consulting with the Metropolitan Police Service and the CPS and having carefully considered matters, on 4 December this year, US authorities indicated to us that they would be willing to co-operate with a prosecution in England and Wales if that would serve the interests of justice,” reads the statement of Keir Starmer of the DPP and Mark Rowley of the MPS.
“However, they do not consider that making all the US witnesses available for trial in London and transferring all of the US material to this jurisdiction would be in the interests of justice given our representations and the reasons for the decision that the US was the appropriate forum as set out above.”
As a result, the CPS/MPS panel recommended to the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police that he should not commence a new criminal investigation against McKinnon. The Assistant Commissioner has accepted the advice.