Gavel Legal Flickr Reuse Label

A British man accused of computer hacking has successfully blocked his extradition to the United States. Lauri Love faces hacking charges in three U.S. states, but will remain in the UK after an appeal victory in British courts.

Love took his case to the High Court in London, where he successfully appealed. The court ruled he would not be extradited, but he could still be prosecuted in England.

Love’s lawyers had argued it would be “unjust and oppressive” to allow him to face trial in the United States. They cited his Asperger’s Syndrome and depressive illness as factors in the proposed extradition.

The United States has been pursuing Love on cyber hacking charges stemming from several years ago. Between October 2012 and October 2013, he is accused of stealing data from government networks he nefariously gained access to. Officials in the U.S. have been pushing for him to be extradited since.

Among the U.S. agencies Love is accused of hacking and stealing data from are the Federal Reserve, NASA, U.S. Army, and the Department of Defense. New Jersey, New York, and Virginia have formally charged him and sought extradition.

While Love’s legal team argued he could be a suicide risk, the court did not rule out prosecuting him in the UK. The judge said doing so would not be “oppressive” and the suicide risk would be significantly lessened due to proximity to loved ones.

The judges said the Crown Prosecution Service “must now bend its endeavors to his prosecution, with the assistance to be expected from the authorities in the United States, recognizing the gravity of the allegations in this case, and the harm done to the victims.”

Wider Debate

Speaking outside the High Court, Love said he wants his case to open a wider discussion. Specifically, he wants debate about how people with mental health problems are managed within the justice system.

“This decision is important for the appropriate administration of criminal justice and also for the humanitarian accommodation of people whose brains work differently,” he said.

He targeted prosecutors, who had attempted to imply his mental problems were lies. Love said it was proof of the stigmatization people with similar problems live through.