Alleged computer hacker Lauri Love, from Stradishall, faces anxious wait for extradition ruling
- Credit: PA
Alleged computer hacker Lauri Love faces a wait to find out if he has successfully challenged a ruling that he can be extradited to the US.
Two judges sitting at the High Court in London on Thursday reserved their decision in Mr Love’s appeal to a date to be fixed.
Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Mr Justice Ouseley heard argument on his behalf that extradition would not be in the “interests of justice” for a number of reasons, including the “high risk” that Mr Love, who suffers from Asperger syndrome, would kill himself.
Edward Fitzgerald QC submitted there were “overwhelming reasons of justice and humanity” why any trial should take place in the UK.
Mr Love, 32, who lives with his parents in Stradishall, near Newmarket, and also suffers from a depressive illness and severe eczema, was present on the second day of the hearing to hear the judges say they would “take time” to consider their judgment.
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Authorities in America have been fighting for Mr Love to face trial on charges of cyber-hacking, which lawyers have said could mean a sentence of up to 99 years in prison if he is found guilty.
He is alleged to have 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.
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In September 2016 a district judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that Mr Love could be extradited. The High Court proceedings centred on that ruling made by District Judge Nina Tempia.
Mr Fitzgerald argued that the “proper place for him to be tried, if he is to be tried, is in the UK and not in the US”.
The QC said it would be “unjust and oppressive” to extradite him because of his severe mental disorders.
Peter Caldwell, representing the US, made submissions inviting the judges to dismiss Mr Love’s appeal.
In written argument he said the district judge’s conclusion on extradition was “reasonably open to her on the findings of fact she made”.
Having identified a high risk of suicide, she “properly assessed whether and how that risk could be managed were the appellant to be extradited”.
He told the judges: “The evidence of the US authorities established that any risk to the appellant would be appropriately managed during transit in custody, and were bail refused, within the setting of pre-trial detention, and if he were convicted, on sentence.”