Second extradition to Poland refused: culpable delay bars extradition

The High Court has refused to uphold the extradition of a Polish Appellant to serve a 2-year sentence for offences of assault. Represented by Malcolm Hawkes, the Appellant argued that the Polish authorities had failed to deal with him for his sentence while he was in Polish custody between 2009-2010 and it was far too late to seek his extradition now.

The Appellant was originally the subject of a suspended sentence, imposed in Poland in 2006, which was activated on 15 July 2009 as he had failed to comply with the requirements to keep in touch with the authorities.

However, in October 2009, the Appellant was extradited from the UK to Poland on a separate matter: in 2005, he had been sentenced to 1-year imprisonment, suspended, for a similar assault against the same victim and had breached the terms of that sentence.

Despite being extradited to Poland after the activation of his second suspended sentence, the Polish authorities did nothing to enforce the second sentence. The Appellant duly served his 1-year sentence and even enjoyed early release with the blessing of the court and prosecution in 2010 for good behaviour and returned to the UK.

However, the instant EAW was not issued until 2018 and there was no explanation for the many years of inaction by the Polish authorities and the many opportunities they spurned to deal with him far sooner.

While the judge found the Polish authorities’ treatment of the Appellant was not oppressive or unjust per se, the delay in the case was certainly culpable and the judge agreed that the Polish authorities’ treatment of the Appellant was unfair.

The judge concluded that extradition in 2019, to serve a sentence imposed in 2006, when the Appellant could and should have been dealt with while in custody in Poland in 2009 amounted to a disproportionate interference with his right to private and family life and allowed the appeal.

In Kunert v Poland, Malcolm was instructed by Noam Almaz, of National Legal Service solicitors