Just when it looked like every avenue to prevent the extradition of self-confessed NASA Hacker Gary McKinnon had been exhausted, especially when just last week a couple of High Court judges denied him leave to appeal his case to the highest court in the UK, it looks like the hacking cause célèbre has got a reprieve.
In an unexpected twist, Home Secretary Alan Johnson has delayed the extradition proceedings while he considers the medical evidence. Diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, it has been argued by the Free Gary campaign that to send him to prison in the US would be the equivalent of signing his death warrant.
Certainly there seems to be a groundswell of opinion (both here and in the US) that were McKinnon tried in the UK he would most likely face a more lenient sentence. I myself have argued that he should face the music, as it were, in the UK rather than the US. I recently stated right here on DaniWeb that "I seriously doubt that McKinnon could get a fair trial in the US where he has already been branded a fugitive from justice (for merely going through the legal process of appealing against an extradition order, something to which he has every legal and moral right) and various government and military mouthpieces have made it quite clear that they think the book should be thrown at him and McKinnon should get 'what he deserves' which would appear to be 60 years in a supermax prison apparently".
However, I have also made it quite clear that I believe McKinnon should not be let off with a slap on the wrist. He has broken the law, he admits as much, and must face the consequences - Asperger's Syndrome or not. This has, let's face it, been dragged out long enough now. McKinnon was arrested way back in 2002 and the 43 year old needs to be prosecuted and tried in a court of law so that he, and everyone else, can move forward.
I'm a hacker turned writer and consultant, specialising in IT security. I've been a freelance word punk for over 20 years and along the way I have seen 23 of my books published, produced and presented programmes for TV and radio, picked up a bunch of awards and continue being a contributing editor with PC Pro - the best selling IT magazine in the UK .