1. ITV Report

Alleged hacker loses court bid to have computers returned

Alleged cyber-hacker Lauri Love from Suffolk has lost his court bid to have his computers returned. Credit: Isabel Infantes/EMPICS Entertainment

An alleged cyber-hacker from Suffolk has been told he is "not the victim in this" by a judge after she turned down his court bid to have his computers returned.

Computer scientist Lauri Love, who has Asperger's, has been campaigning for the return of his three computers, two external storage devices and an SD card since the National Crime Agency (NCA) raided his family home in Stradishall near Bury St Edmunds in October 2013.

During a fraught hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, District Judge Margot Coleman ruled the items still contained information which did not belong to him, so could not be returned.

Mr Love, 34, was also reprimanded by the judge after he turned his back and announced "I'll be in the pub" when Andrew Bird, for the NCA, said there would be an application to recover costs from him.

Alleged computer hacker Lauri Love outside Westminster Magistrates' Court in London. Credit: Ryan Hooper/PA Wire/PA Images

Outlining her ruling, the judge accused Mr Love of failing to co-operate with authorities and refusing to answer questions about the content of the computers at a previous hearing.

Mr Love, representing himself in court and fiddling with a hat throughout, replied: "If people are dissuaded from seeking justice because the chances are not favourable, it would be a dire state of affairs.

"Occasionally the arguments persuade the court."

The judge replied: "Mr Love, your arguments did not even get off the starting block. You were warned it was highly unlikely you would get your property back.

"Mr Love, you are not the victim in this. You brought this on yourself."

Supporters of alleged computer hacker Lauri Love outside Westminster Magistrates' Court. Credit: Ted Hennessey/PA Wire/PA Images

Mr Love has not been charged with offences in this country and protests his innocence.

In September 2016 a district judge at Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled that he could be extradited to the US where he is accused of stealing "massive quantities" of sensitive data resulting in millions of dollars of losses.

But High Court judges Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Mr Justice Ouseley announced in February 2018 that "Mr Love's extradition would be oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition".

Authorities in America have been fighting for Mr Love to face trial on charges of cyber-hacking, which lawyers said could have meant a sentence of up to 99 years in prison if found guilty.