this is fun...
Firstly, those little bit familiar with Network security would agree that more appropriately - the responsible managers at the networks McKinnon hacked into should be charged for due-diligence. I don't know if anyone ever tried this, but I would counter sue the government organizations in question as accomplices to the crime.
If you leave your Mercedes open, with keys in the ignition in South Central, you would probably be a very stupid citizen if you were surprised that it got stolen. If you'd however left your neighbor's car in the same situation, your intentions would _at least_ be questioned.
In either case, car theft (especially if the car is open and has keys in the ignition) is a minor offense. It is more likely that curious kids will steal it and not a professional car thief. (Yes, you can lock up curious kids to a maximum security prison for 10 years - lets see how that will fly).
Whatever the reasons are for leaving of an unlocked expensive car of your neighbor in South Cantral before it got stolen, I am sure that your neighbor will hold you responsible and not the car thief. The neighbor is "US Citizens" and their data (the expensive car) got stolen - because you left it unlocked in an 'easy to steal' manner in the South Central.
For all I know, maybe someone got fed up with his Mercedes and left it there for someone interested.
A reasonably good lawyer can beat this case in the US jury court in a heartbeat. That is - the data of the US citizens are according to the allegations relatively available to access from external networks without intruder being noticed for a good while.
It is near to impossible (or at least extremely difficult) today to exploit a well secured network. I seriously doubt Mr. McKinnon's ability to perform such sophisticated network penetration, giving the simple fact - he got caught. This fact also supports my assumption that security hole(s) he exploited were exploited by luck and not knowledge.
It is a human nature to be curious and provided that Mr. McKinnon is a curious kid and not a professional car thief (I simply assume that such is the case as he also did not profit out the network breach), a slap on the wrist of Mr. McKinnon while firing those responsible for the network security seem rather appropriate.
Secondly, I have read lot about this case, yet I wonder what data have the prosecutors provided to proof that Mr. McKinnon breached the network and what damage he exactly caused. I mean, calling those responsible for network security on the stand could proof hilarious. They have likely breached their own corporate policies and thus allowed this to happen in the first place (hence they are accomplices).
All the fun aside, I must point to the stupidity of Mr. McKinnon as well. If you break the law either make sure you wont get caught, or stop whining after you do - or don't break the law in the first place. No pity from my side, although I do think that your current legal representation is responsible for a big part of the situation you are currently in.
And btw. what the fuck is "the house of lords"? Do you have to kneel once you are granted an audition? Damn, do we live in the 21st century!!!???