Cyber charge teenager bailed

A teenager accused of attempting to hack the website of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) was today released on conditional bail.

Prosecutors appealed against Ryan Cleary's bail at Southwark Crown Court but were unsuccessful.

The 19-year-old is accused of taking part in a conspiracy to attack sites including those of Soca and the British Phonographic Industry.

Today Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith granted him bail on the condition that he observes a curfew between 9am and 7pm, is electronically tagged and only leaves the house in the company of one of his parents.

He is not allowed to access the internet or possess any devices capable of going online.

Cleary was arrested on Monday June 20 as part of a Scotland Yard and FBI probe into LulzSec, a group which claims responsibility for hacking attempts on Soca, the US Senate and the CIA.

He is charged with conspiring with other people on or before that date to create a remotely controlled network of zombie computers, known as a "botnet", to carry out distributed denial of service attacks, where websites are flooded with traffic to make them crash.

The teenager, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome since his arrest, appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on Saturday where he was granted conditional bail.

But prosecutors immediately appealed and Cleary, of South Beech Avenue, Wickford, Essex, was remanded in custody over the weekend.

Today his mother Rita spoke in court to say she would agree to any bail conditions imposed.

Describing her son as "my life", she said: "I'm aware that I'm his best friend as well as his mother, because he's reclusive."

He must live and sleep each night at his home address according to the bail conditions, and agree to allow police access to the house to make sure that he is obeying the rules.

His solicitor, Karen Todner, issued a statement which said: "Ryan Cleary is very relieved to be granted bail today and to go home to his mum, his cats and his books. He has cooperated with the police entirely and will continue to do so.

"Ryan has last week at court been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome which is a form of high functioning autism. He will now be provided with the professional support that he needs. His obvious intelligence can now be channelled into a worthwhile pursuit.

"One thing that is positive from this case is that the British police are investigating and appear to be accepting jurisdiction.

"The case is due back at Southwark CC for a plea and case management hearing on August 30.

"Ryan will not be making any further statements in the meantime."

The case has drawn comparisons with Gary McKinnon, who also has Asperger's syndrome and is fighting extradition to America over allegations of hacking into US military computers.

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