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Extradition Law & European Arrest Warrants

Partners at Law Solicitors were recently involved in an extradition case which is currently the subject of an appeal by the Minister for Justice and Equality to the Supreme Court. The matter proceeded before the High Court, where the surrender of our client was sought pursuant to a European Arrest Warrant. Matters proceeded to full hearing with judgement delivered on 13 January 2020.

The EAW issued from Romania, with assistance being sought on the grounds that the respondent had failed to appear in person at trial.

Two points of objection were pursued on behalf of the respondent at hearing before the High Court, namely

  1. The respondent was not properly served with a summons to court in Romania and was not present in court, or represented in court, on the occasion when the Romanian Court adjudicated upon the matter and passed sentence. Further, the respondent was not guaranteed a retrial to remedy this deficiency if he was to be returned to Romania.
  2. The surrender of the respondent would constitute a contravention of Articles 38.1 and 40.4.1 Bunreacht na hÉireann and/or would be incompatible with the obligations of the State under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights, and is therefore prohibited by Section 45 of the 2003 Act.

Section 45 of the 2003 Act states that an individual shall not be surrendered under the Act if the person does not appear in person, subject to various conditions regarding notification. The High Court opined that if service was executed by post, the individual will not be surrendered unless it can be proved that the communication was received.

Paragraphs of the EAW were deemed to be incorrect and not in satisfaction of Section 45 of the 2003 Act. Firstly, the Romanian authorities indicated that the respondent received notification of the determination of the Court of trial. Secondly, the EAW indicated that the respondent was legally represented at hearing. Upon the High Court seeking information from the Romanian authorities it was clear to the court in this case that the respondent was not personally served and the respondent was not legally represented at the appeal hearing.

The High Court was not satisfied unequivocally that Section 45 of the 2003 Act was complied with and refused the Minister’s application on those grounds.

By Alice Jago trainee solicitor at Partners at Law.

To find out more about extradition law please contact Andrew Vallely on 2800340 or avallely@pals.ie