Lauri Love has won his High Court appeal against extradition to the United States on hacking charges.
The 33-year-old from Suffolk is alleged to have stolen huge amounts of data in a spate of hacking attacks on US agencies including the FBI, US Central Bank, Federal Reserve, US Army and NASA in 2012 and 2013.
Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett ruled that there would be a high risk of Mr Love committing suicide if he was extradited. Mr Love has Aspergers syndrome and suffers from depression.
However he advised the Crown Prosecution Service to proceed with prosecuting Mr Love in England.
“We accept that the evidence shows that the fact of extradition would bring on severe depression, and that Mr Love would probably be determined to commit suicide, here or in America,” he ruled.
“It would not be oppressive to prosecute Mr 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 CPS 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.”
The CPS, which is acting on behalf of the US authorities, will now decide whether to lodge a request for an appeal hearing at the UK Supreme Court. It has 14 days to do so.
Emerging from the court, Mr 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.”
He added in a press conference: “I am greatly relieved that I’m no longer facing the prospect of being locked up in a country I have never visited.
“This legal struggle has defined my life for the past four years. I’m not looking forward to be being prosecuted but I think there’s a better chance that it will be done justly and fairly in the UK.”
The ruling was widely reported by the global media.