Section 20 extradition success for Lansbury Worthington
Our team have been successful in securing the discharge of a 33-year old man to Poland. He was discharged on two arrest warrants, conviction-type and accusation-type.
The Court in Poland (‘Judicial Authority’) sought the return of our client (‘Requested Person’) in relation to two European Arrest Warrants. The Requested Person’s return was sought in order that he may stand trial for one offence of possession of a controlled substance, as well as that he may serve the remainder of two sentences of imprisonment totalling 3 years.
Challenges to extradition
We asserted that our client did not deliberately absent himself from his trial. Consequently, in the absence of a right to a retrial, his extradition should be barred under section 20(7) of the Extradition Act 2003.
Under this section, the Judicial Authority must prove, to the criminal standard, that the Requested Person deliberately absented himself from his trial. It must unequivocally establish that the Requested Person waived his right to appear at that trial and to defend himself, or that he was seeking to evade justice. Furthermore, where the Court is not satisfied that the Requested Person deliberately absented themselves from a trial, the burden remains on the Judicial Authority to prove that the Requested Person is entitled to a retrial which complies with section 20(8) of the Extradition Act 2003. The Requested Person’s state of mind is material in deciding whether the absence was ‘deliberate’.
We submitted, on our client’s behalf, that he did not deliberately absent himself from his trial, and we refuted the assertion that he was notified of the date of the hearing. We submitted that the Judicial Authority had not demonstrated to the criminal standard that our client had unequivocally waived his right to attend his trial. Had the Judicial Authority ticked the relevant box in the European arrest warrant, it would have been the end of the matter. However, no assistance could be gleaned from the European arrest warrant as the pro forma had not been used.
Accordingly, the Court was required to reach a finding of fact on this dispute, given its relevance to the statutory question posed by section 20(3) of the Extradition Act 2003.
On 7 July 2021, District Judge Hamilton discharged our client.
In court, our client was represented by Myles Grandison of Temple Garden Chambers, who was instructed by Agnieszka Maria Biel and Giovanna Fiorentino of this firm.
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Agnieszka M. Biel, Solicitor