Alleged computer hacker Lauri Love won his High Court appeal against extradition to the Unites States. Love was arrested in 2013 and is accused of a series of cyber-attacks on the computer networks of private companies and United States government agencies, including the US Federal Reserve, US Army, US Department of Defence, Missile Defence Agency and the FBI, in order to steal confidential information. The American authorities had sought for him to face trial in the United States.
But his lawyers argued that Love, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and a depressive illness, would be at risk of killing himself if he were extradicted and argued that he be tried in the UK. Sitting at the High Court in London, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, and Mr Justice Ouseley, allowed the appeal against his extradition ordered by Westminster Magistrates’ Court in 2016. It ruled that extradition would “oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition”.
Prosecution in UK
But the court stressed: “It would not be oppressive to prosecute Love in England for the offences alleged against him. “Far from it. Much of Mr Love’s argument was based on the contention that this is indeed where he should be prosecuted.” The court said: “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, said it will consider the judgment before deciding whether to appeal.
A statement from law firm Kaim Todner, which represented Love, said: 'This has been a landmark judgment, not just because it is the first time that the forum bar has successfully been argued, but also because it is a very rare occasion on which the English courts have discharged a requested person on a United States extradition request.' It continued: 'What is particularly important about this case is that the British justice system has taken the stance that we should deal with the matter ourselves, rather than accept the US government’s demands. It has also been recognised that mental health provisions in US prisons are not adequate to satisfy us that Lauri would not have come to serious harm if he were extradited.'
Speaking outside court, Love said: 'This is not just for myself. I hope this sets a precedent for the future for anyone in the same position that they will be tried here. We are hopeful that other people will be able to rely on this verdict to ensure that they're treated more humanely by the justice systems.'