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Surrender ordered where respondent unequivocally waived his right to attend trial

By: James Cross BL

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High Court orders the surrender of the respondent to the United Kingdom, on the grounds that: the respondent must be taken to have unequivocally waived his right to attend the trial including sentencing; his surrender not be incompatible with the State’s obligations under international human rights law or the Constitution; and the amendment or substitution of the original charges in the circumstances of this case amounts to a breach of his fundamental rights.

European arrest warrant – UK authorities asking for the surrender of respondent – warrant to impose custodial sentence and for prosecution of offences - sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment – supply of controlled substance – prosecution for wounding
with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, unlawful and malicious wounding, affray and possession of an offensive weapon in a
public place - points of objection – trial in absentia – not present for sentencing - contents of the warrant and additional information - mandate to the legal counsellor - present at his arraignment and informed of the intended trial date - had the benefit of legal counsel throughout the trial process including at sentencing – he decided to abscond and not to attend the rest of the trial process including any sentencing - must be taken to have unequivocally waived his right to attend the trial including sentencing - surrender not be incompatible with the State’s obligations under the ECHR or the Constitution - fully aware that this was an ongoing trial process and that he deliberately decided to absent himself from any further aspect of the process – no reason to regard the completion of the EAW as being manifestly in error so that the Court should not accept same - objection that his fair trial rights have been breached - convicted of an offence other than the offence for which he was arraigned -difference in the wording between the alleged offence at arraignment and conviction does not appear to involve any significant difference in the facts as alleged against the respondent but rather appears to represent an amendment of the charge to more accurately reflect the facts as alleged against the respondent - allowed for under the procedures of the UK legal system where the trial is proceeding in the absence of the accused - mere fact that the legal system or system of trial in another jurisdiction differed from that envisaged by our Constitution would not mean that surrender would contravene the Constitution – presumption that the trial leading to the conviction in question was fair in respect of the respondent’s fundamental rights – incumbent upon accused at the material time, to seek an effective remedy if he is complaining of lack of fairness – respondent has not adduced any authorities to support his proposition that the amendment or substitution of the original charges in the circumstances of this case amounts to a breach of his fundamental rights - amendment or substitution of a charge does not per se amount to a breach of a fair trial right – surrender ordered

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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