Christopher Taylor, 58, from Wigan was discharged from extradition proceedings on 7 December 2020 by District Judge Michael Fanning, sitting at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, in proceedings brought by US authorities in connection with the mass hacking of webcams.
The court was told that Mr Taylor, a full-time caregiver for his wife, suffers from depression and is autistic. It was submitted on Mr Taylor’s behalf that the hacking of over 772 webcams across 39 countries was not for his sexual gratification but rather as a consequence of his obsession with computers and hacking. Counsel for Mr Taylor argued that as the case involved victims from several countries, including the UK, and as only 7 percent of victims were based in the US, the US was not the appropriate forum in which for him to be tried.
The District Judge held that extradition would not be in the interest of justice. Mr Taylor’s extradition and the disruption it would cause to his wife’s care would amount to a disproportionate interference with both his own and his wife’s Article 8 rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, which, among other rights, protects the right to private and family life. The District Judge went on to state that US authorities may wish to appeal the decision or “provide evidence to the authorities in the UK” so that a prosecution might take place in this jurisdiction. Counsel for the US indicated that the decision would be appealed.