Date set for NASA hacker hearing in U.K.

Britain's high court will consider next month whether self-confessed hacker Gary McKinnon should be tried in the U.K., instead of the U.S., in a case that dates back to 2001.

Tom Espiner Special to CNET News

A date has been set for the Britain's high court to consider whether self-confessed NASA hacker Gary McKinnon should be tried in the U.K.

Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Justice Alan Wilkie will hear on July 14 the London resident's application for a judicial review, McKinnon's solicitor, Karen Todner, told ZDNet UK on Tuesday.

Gary McKinnon
Gary McKinnon ZDNet UK

McKinnon, accused by U.S. prosecutors of the "biggest military hack of all time" back in 2001, is pursuing a judicial review of a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute him in the U.K. Prosecution in the U.K. would enable McKinnon to avoid extradition to the U.S., where he runs the risk of a prison sentence of up to 60 years, according to his legal team.

If the judges grant McKinnon's application for the judicial review, then the review itself will be heard on the same day.

The high court judges are also in the process of reviewing the legality of former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's denial of McKinnon's second appeal to the Home Office, despite knowing that he had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.

If the judges find Smith was in error, the decision on McKinnon's extradition could be passed back to current Home Secretary Alan Johnson. However, if they rule that Smith was right, McKinnon will appeal to the House of Lords, Todner said. McKinnon's team will then take their case to the European Court of Human Rights if a House of Lords appeal fails, she added.

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.