A special ceremony marked the start of construction of the new American Embassy in South London today. Scheduled for completion in 4 years time, the 650 million pound building will feature state of the art security and house 1,000 staff.
English Defence League (EDL) leader Stephen Lennon, 30, pleaded guilty to possession of a false identity document with improper intention, contrary to the Identity Documents Act 2010, at Southwark Crown Court.
Lennon used a passport in the name of Andrew McMaster to board a Virgin Atlantic Flight from Heathrow to New York, but was caught out after his fingerprints were taken by customs officials.
He left the airport and entered the US illegally but left the country the following day, using his own passport to return to the UK.
The United States has expressed its disappointment in the decision taken by the CPS not to prosecute Gary McKinnon. The US Embassy in London released a statement saying:
The United States was disappointed by the UK Home Secretary’s decision not to extradite Gary McKinnon, particularly in light of the UK courts’ and prior Home Secretaries’ decisions that he should face trial in the United States.
We note that the Home Secretary acknowledged the seriousness of the crimes of which Mr. McKinnon is accused, and described this case as exceptional, indicating that her decision does not set a precedent for future cases.
The Director of Public Prosecutions and the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service released a joint statement explaining their decision not to take further action against Gary McKinnon.
They identified a number of reasons why pursuing a prosecution would not be in the public interest:
- Gary McKinnon is was originally supposed to be tried in the US; in October 2012, when the Home Secretary decided not to extradite him, there was no live criminal investigation against him in the UK, nor had there been for many years
- As far as building a case against McKinnon in the UK was concerned, "the harm occurred in the US", the investigation was launched in the US, most of the witnesses are in the US and nearly all the physical evidence is in the US
- US authorities, though willing to co-operate with a prosecution, would not agree transfer witnesses or evidence to the UK
- The "prospect of a conviction in the UK which reflects the full extent of his alleged criminality are not high"
The Crown Prosecution Service have declared their decision not to prosecute Gary McKinnon in the UK.
They state that the appropriate jurisdiction would be the United States, which is an interesting decision bearing in mind Mr McKinnon was originally arrested and interviewed by British police in 2002.
Mr McKinnon has always indicated that he would be willing to plead guilty to an offence under the Misuse of Computers Act but clearly cannot do so if he is not going to be prosecuted.
Mr McKinnon's legal team remains aware that his extradition warrant is still outstanding and will seek to explore other ways in which Mr McKinnon can receive complete closure on this long saga.
Computer hacker Gary McKinnon will face no further criminal action, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has said.
The decision follows a review of the case after the Government's decision to block his extradition to the United States in October on health grounds.
Mr McKinnon, 46, from Wood Green, north London, would have faced up to 60 years in prison if convicted in the US.
An American woman is due in court charged with killing a Londoner, who died after having cosmetic surgery.
Claudia Aderotimi had implants in her buttocks at a Philadelphia hotel in February 2011. She then suffered chest pains and breathing problems, and died a few hours later. Padge Windslow, who calls herself "the black madam" is charged with her murder.
A Tooting man will today take his fight to avoid extradition to the US to the High Court.
Computer expert Babar Ahmad has been held in a UK prison without trial for eight years after being accused of raising funds for terrorism.
His judicial review application will be heard today along with that of radical cleric Abu Hamza and another suspect, Khaled Al-Fawwaz.
The Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC has refused to consent to the private prosecution of terror suspects Babar Ahmad and Syed Ahsan.
Babar Ahmad's family has urged Home Secretary Theresa May to halt his extradition until a decision is made on a potential private prosecution in the UK. In a statement released following the move, the family said:
"We are simply asking for the court to put a hold on Babar's extradition so that the DPP has the necessary time and space to make a decision on the material provided to him in April 2012 which was kept hidden from him by the police for eight years.
"The DPP has confirmed that he is considering this material in addition to the request by Mr Karl Watkin for permission to privately prosecute Babar in the UK.
"We trust that the court will find that this is a reasonable request which is both in the public interest and the interests of justice."