Superhacker appeals with Asperger’s diagnosis

So-called UK ‘super hacker’ Gary McKinnon has confessed to hacking into computers owned by the United States government and renewed his appeal to be tried in the UK rather than face extradition.
If extradited to the US, McKinnon could be charged under terrorist legislation and face up to 70 years in a maximum security prison. McKinnon, from North London, has previously admitted he hacked into computers belonging to NASA and the US military in 2001 and 2002 searching for suppressed information about UFOs, but had challenged prosecutors’ accounts of how much damage he had caused.
Earlier this week, McKinnon’s lawyers sent a signed confession to the Director of Public Prosecution, along with a medical report outlining how McKinnon was suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. At an accompanying news conference, autism expert professor Simon Baron-Cohen said McKinnon’s crime should be treated as the action of somebody with a disability rather than criminal intent.
“It can bring a sort of tunnel vision so that in their pursuit of the truth they are blind to the potential social consequences for them or for other people,” he said.
McKinnon’s lawyer Karen Todner said the Asperger’s diagnosis might compel the UK judiciary to look on McKinnon “more favourably in terms of the way they treat him”.
The hacker’s currently unsuccessful fight to avoid extradition has gone all the way to the House of Lords, and has included an appeal to the Home Office.
The Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed it was considering the letters from McKinnon’s lawyers and promised an answer within four weeks.

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