Autistic hacker refused bail


Artist impression of Ryan Cleary in Court
Ryan Cleary in Court

Ryan Cleary, the 19 year old arrested last Monday on charges of bringing down the website of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and possible connection with LulzSec, the hacker group who  claimed responsibility for attacks on US websites including the US Senate and the CIA appeared before the City of Westminster magistrates court on Friday he  to answer only to confirm his name and that he understood the charges against him; he has not entered a plea with regard to the five offenses against him.

Cleary’s lawyer, Ben Cooper, said that his client has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome by a psychologist and that he had concerns about him remaining in custody over the weekend. Cleary had been granted bail but prosecutors have objected.

The court was told that Cleary is “of high intelligence but is agoraphobic and has difficulty interacting with other people.”

He is charged with conspiring with other people on or before 20 June to set up a  network of “botnet” computers to carry out distributed denial of service attacks on various websites

He is also being charged with  attacks against the British and International Phonographic industry websites in 2010.

If Cleary wins bail on Monday, he will be under the following restrictions:

* He will not have access to the internet and will not have in his possession any device which could access the internet.

* Any device capable of accessing the internet from his home address and that he will have to sleep at the address and can only leave his address accompanied with his mother.

Mr Cleary’s diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome one of many forms of autism, brings to mind the case of Gary McKinnock who is currently fighting a court ruling for extradiction to the US where he would face charges of gaining entry into US military computer systems – at the time Mr McKinnock said he was looking to find evidence of UFOs.

Both men obviously have  classed as also having social interactive disability and Mr Cleary also has phobias around social environment.

The National Autistic Society has expressed concerns that people with autism can be particularly vulnerable within the Criminal Justice system and “may be misunderstood”. To help members of the legal profession it has put out the following guide .

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