High Court upholds refusal to extradite to Slovakia

J’s extradition was sought pursuant to a European arrest warrant (EAW) to serve a three year sentence for an offence of grievous bodily harm dating from June 2005. At first instance, it was argued that the evidence from Slovakia failed properly to include information about whether J had deliberately absented himself from trial and whether he would receive a retrial following his extradition.

District Judge Radway found that the Slovakian authorities had failed to prove that (a) J was convicted in his presence, (b) J was deliberately absent from his trial, and (c) J would receive a retrial following extradition. The Judge therefore discharged J from the extradition request as he could not be satisfied that he would receive a retrial once returned to Slovakia.

In coming to this conclusion, the Judge refused an application made by the Crown Prosecution Service to adjourn to seek further evidence from Slovakia. Further, on the day that judgment was due to be handed down, the Judge refused to admit into evidence further information from Slovakia purporting to deal with the evidential problems in its case.    

The High Court has refused Slovakia permission to appeal the Judge’s decision. Mr Justice Johnson found that there was no obligation on the Judge to adjourn the proceedings to seek further information thereby upholding the Judge’s rigorous case management decisions. Further, Mr Justice Johnson found that the evidence which was excluded by the Judge was not directly relevant to the issues which needed to be decided.

Following the High court’s decision, J has been released from custody.

J is represented by Graeme Hall, who is in turn instructed by Gitana Megvine, Oracles Solicitors.