Alleged hacker’s legal bid to retrieve seized devices turned down

Alleged hacker Lauri Love launched a legal battle to try to get his seized computers back Picture:

Alleged hacker Lauri Love launched a legal battle to try to get his seized computers back Picture: KIRSTY O'CONNOR/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

Alleged hacker Lauri Love has lost a legal battle for the return of computers and storage devices seized in 2013.

The 34-year-old, from Stradishall, launched the bid last week – a year after leading judges blocked his extradition to the US on charges of cyber-hacking.

On Tuesday, 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 by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

She reprimanded Mr Love for turning his back and announcing “I’ll be in the pub” after Andrew Bird, for the NCA, said there would be an application to recover costs.

The judge asked Mr Love not to lodge another application for his property until the investigation into an allegation of criminal behaviour had concluded.

Speaking outside, Mr Love said: “It seems that the sentiment of (the district judge) was that I should not continue to press this matter at the Court of Appeal.

“I will have to meditate upon that in my heart of hearts, I do not feel justice has been done.

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“Sometimes when people are swayed by arguments and not facts, as appears to be the case today, there does need to be a higher court to fix that, but occasionally one might consider cutting their losses.”

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, 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.

“You are not the victim in this. You brought this on yourself.”

Mr Love, who has Asperger syndrome, has not been charged in this country and protests his innocence. In September 2016, a district judge ruled he could be extradited to the US, where he is accused of stealing “massive quantities” of sensitive data. But High Court judges announced in February 2018 that “Mr Love’s extradition would be oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition”.