Extradition discharge brings to a close a 5-year legal battle over 3 grammes of amphetamines

08.03.17 | |

 

The extradition of a woman, ‘GF’ to Latvia, wanted to serve a three-year prison term for possession with intent to supply 3 grammes of amphetamines has been refused for the second time. The decision brings to a close a legal process which began five years ago.

 

Represented by Malcolm Hawkes, the requested person was originally arrested in possession of the drugs in Latvia in 2008. If convicted, she faced a minimum sentence of 5 years imprisonment. Yet for 2 years the Latvian authorities did nothing to progress the case and she left for the UK.

 

Arrested in the UK in 2012, her extradition was ordered at the magistrates court later that year, but she was discharged on appeal in 2013. She had alleged very serious ill-treatment by the arresting Latvian officers and developed very serious mental health problems, which led to serious suicide attempts and self-harm. The High Court held the time already served in respect of the offence – 10 months – was sufficient to render further extradition and lengthy sentence disproportionate.

 

However, the Latvian authorities then tried her in absentia, despite knowing she remained in the UK, and convicted her, imposing a 3-year sentence. A second extradition request was issued in 2015. Meanwhile, she had given birth to her first child, but was almost immediately convicted in the UK of drugs offences and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

 

The UK extradition court rejected arguments founded on abuse of process and did not agree that extradition would now be oppressive or unjust. However, the court did conclude that her extradition would be disproportionate, on account of her mental health, the overall delay, the low gravity of the offence and the Article 8 rights of her 1-year-old baby.

 

In Latvia v GF, Malcolm Hawkes was instructed by Rebecca Dunford of Punatar & Co Solicitors.

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