Hacker suspect Lauri Love wins US extradition appeal

The British student accused of hacking US government websites will not be extradited to face trial in America

Lauri Love will not be extradited to face trial in America
Lauri Love will not be extradited to face trial in America

Alleged computer hacker Lauri Love has won his high court appeal against his extradition to the US.

The 32-year-old British student accused of hacking into US government websites, will not be extradited to face trial in America, the high court has ruled.

Love’s lawyers argued that he should be tried for his alleged crimes in the UK, and that he would be at risk of killing himself in the US.

They urged the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to prosecute Mr Love, who has Aspergers syndrome, in England.

The court accepted both of the main arguments advanced by Love’s lawyers that there was no reason he could not be tried in England and that he might suffer serious damage to his health if he were extradited.

They said: "We accept that the evidence shows that the fact of extradition would bring on severe depression, and that Love would probably be determined to commit suicide, here or in America."

There was an outburst of cheering in court when the lord chief justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, announced his decision. Burnett asked supporters to be quiet, saying: “This is a court, not a theatre.”

“The CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] must now bend its endeavours to his prosecution, with the assistance to be expected from the authorities in the United States, recognising the gravity of the allegations in this case, and the harm done to the victims. As we have pointed out, the CPS did not intervene to say that prosecution in England was inappropriate. If proven, these are serious offences indeed.”

The CPS, which acts on behalf of the US authorities in the case, said it would read the judgment before deciding whether or not to appeal.

The United States authorities now have 14 days to lodge a request for an appeal hearing at the UK Supreme Court.

Love was first arrested in October 2013 on suspicion of having stolen huge amounts of data from US agencies, including the Federal Reserve, the US army, the defence department, NASA and the FBI in a spate of online attacks in 2012 and 2013.

Speaking outside the court, Love said he hoped he had set a "precedent so this will not happen to people in the future".

"I'm hoping that this outcome can contribute to the discussion we are having as a society about how to accommodate people that have neuro-diversity, whose brains are made up in a slightly different way," he said.

"There is an ongoing problem with people with autism in the justice system - they have actually been debating it in Westminster Hall. I hope in the future to be able to contribute to a slightly better understanding of the stigma associated with depression."