Ben Cooper - Times lawyer of the week

The Times newspaper has  named Ben Cooper as its Lawyer of the Week for his work in ensuring Michael Halliday, a gay British man, was not extradited to Dubai.  The article can be found by clicking here.

 

Mr Halliday will not be extradited in the United Arab Emirates (where homosexuality is outlawed) after District Judge Jeremy Coleman agreed with Ben Cooper of the Doughty Street Extradition Team that there was a real risk Mr Halliday would be tortured and would be unlikely to receive a fair trial on (strongly denied) allegations of theft.

 

District Judge Coleman’s ruling, which will be important for future cases, discharged Mr Halliday on Article 6 grounds, which is very unusual in the context of extradition cases as it means the Judge found that not only was a fair trial unlikely, but that Mr Halliday was at risk of a flagrantly unfair trial.  This is a very high threshold to meet, and suggests serious concerns over Dubai’s criminal justice system.

 

In addition, the Judge found that Mr Halliday was at greater risk of ill-treatment or torture (a violation of Article 3) simply because he is gay.  District Judge Coleman said: “I do find that Mr Halliday’s sexual orientation is an additional factor in considering his Article 3 rights, were he to be extradited to a society where homosexual practices are very strongly condemned.  This would especially be the case if he were placed in a custodial setting where his welfare could not be monitored regularly.”  (An independent expert sent to Dubai by the Crown Prosecution Service, which acted on behalf of the UAE in this case, was not permitted to inspect prison conditions.)  

 

The GuardianThe Telegraph and several other news outlets have been writing on the story today.

 

Ben Cooper was instructed by Jonathan Black of BSB Solicitors. Extremely valuable evidential input was provided by Paul Dillane of the UKLGIG, and the Human Dignity Trust led by Jonathan Cooper OBE.

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