On 30 October 2020, District Judge Hamilton discharged our client from a European arrest warrant issued by Romania, seeking his return to stand trial for two aggravated burglaries, carrying a maximum term of ten (10) years’ imprisonment.
The District Judge was persuaded that absence of a person-specific Romanian assurance is fatal to this Romanian request. Discharge ordered pursuant to s. 21A (4) of the Extradition Act 2003. The issuing judicial authority’s (IJA) application to adjourn to another date, opposed, was refused.
No basis for the IJA to apply for leave to appeal
The judge’s decision not to adjourn (and/or to permit the case to be part-heard) is not obviously wrong or unreasonable. The judge did not make a decision adverse to the IJA on what was a contentious point. As a matter of law, absent an assurance, regardless of the type of Romanian warrant, conviction or accusation, is fatal to request.
Overview of why our client was entitled to be discharged
Absent the Romanian issuing judicial authority serving and filing a relevant and adequate assurance in which the requested person is named – which has not been done as of the day of the listed extradition hearing – the requested person was entitled as a matter of law to be discharged from these extradition proceedings. Romanian assurances are required in accordance with the formulation of a guarantee of sufficient personal space in accordance with Mursic v Croatia (7334/13), a decision of the European Court of Human Rights (Grand Chamber) of 20 October 2016 (where the Court clarified the principles and standards for the assessment of the minimum personal space per detainee in multi-occupancy accommodation in prisons under ECHR art.3; risk of conditions of detention amounting to inhuman and/or degrading treatment in breach of art.3) as upheld and applied in Adamescu (Bogdan Alexander) v. Bucharest Appeal Court Criminal Division, Romania  EWHC 2709 (Admin), High Court of Justice Queen's Bench Division Administrative Court, a decision of 20 October 2020.
An assurance of adequacy of conditions on the prison estate remains required in every Romanian request.
Our client was represented by Abigail Bright of Doughty Street Chambers, who was instructed by Giovanna Fiorentino and Agnieszka Maria Biel of Lansbury Worthington Solicitors.
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Agnieszka M. Biel, Trainee Solicitor