1. ITV Report

Hacker's Mother blasts ruling date

Gary McKinnon is wanted by American authorities on charges of computer hacking Photo: Reuters

The Home Secretary is proposing to decide in mid-October whether to order computer hacker Gary McKinnon's extradition to the US, the High Court was told today.

But McKinnon's mother Janis Sharp made an emotional appeal outside court for Theresa May "to show a little bit of compassion" and make an earlier decision.

Her son's life and that of his family was being "destroyed" by the case and "Gary cannot cope any more", said Mrs Sharp.

One of the reasons given for the delay is the Olympics and Mrs May's crucial role, especially on security.

But Mrs Sharp said: "She could have made a decision before the Olympics. The evidence is there that Gary is unfit for trial and a considerable suicide risk. We need this decision. This delay is wrong - morally wrong."

The announcement of the mid-October date follows the 46-year-old's refusal last week to undergo further medical tests by a Home Office-appointed expert during his battle to avoid removal.

The US authorities want McKinnon, from Wood Green, north London, to face trial for hacking into military computers 10 years ago. He could face a jail sentence of up to 60 years if convicted.

The proposed timing for the Home Secretary's decision was given to London's High Court by Hugo Keith QC, representing Mrs May.

If she decides to allow extradition to go ahead, McKinnon's lawyers are expected to launch a last-ditch application for judicial review to challenge the decision.

Mr Keith told Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen's Bench Division, and Mr Justice Globe that the Home Secretary proposed to give her decision "on or around October 16" while Parliament is sitting.

Sir John set down a timetable for any subsequent legal challenge, expected to take three to four days, to come to court some time after mid-November.

Mr Keith told the court one of the reasons for the mid-October decision date was the Home Secretary's "all-consuming" involvement in the Olympic Games - the biggest peacetime operation since the Second World War.

She also wants to announce her decision when Parliament is sitting.

Mrs Sharp said outside court: "If Theresa May has got an ounce of compassion she would make her decision now before the Olympics because she has any number of medical reports - these delays are destroying my son's life.

"There is already enough evidence from two Home Office-approved experts - one appointed by the Home Secretary - and there is another four in all.

"She should show a little bit of compassion. Gary cannot cope any more. Everybody has been finding it very difficult. It is absolutely ruining everybody's lives. It is now 10 years."

Earlier, Sir John, referring to the length of time the case had been going on, said it was "obviously right that it is brought to a finality".

More on this story