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Socha v D.C. Ostravia (Czech Republic) & Ors

A defendant in extradition proceedings is not entitled to a witness summons compelling the production of material in respect of a parallel domestic criminal investigation

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2016/139.html

Simon Gledhill of 3 Temple Gardens acted for the Appellant in this case.

On 20 December 2014 the National Crime Agency certified a part 1 warrant for the appellant's arrest issued by the district court in Ostrava in the Czech Republic on 18 December. This was in relation to suspected involvement in the supply of drugs internationally.

On 30 December and 29 March 2015 the Appellant was arrested, in this jurisdiction, on suspicion of conspiring to import class A drugs. The Appellant admitted many of the allegations set out in the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), but he did not accept the case as put.

On 29 May 2015 the CPS reviewing lawyer took the decision not to prosecute in this jurisdiction, due to insufficient evidence. That decision noted the contrast vis-à-vis the position in the Czech Republic where there was other evidence available in the local language and the investigation was more advanced.

District Judge Purdy, on 29 June 2015, refused an application by the Appellant for a witness summons, in the extradition proceedings, to compel production of material concerning the UK investigation.

Section 19B of the Extradition Act 2003 bars extradition of a person to a category 1 territory where such extradition would not be in the interests of justice. Specified matters to be taken into consideration are set out at 19B(3). Section 19B(3)(d) reads "were D to be prosecuted in a part of the United Kingdom for an offence that corresponds to the extradition offence, whether evidence necessary to prove the offence is or could be made available in the United Kingdom..."

On 6 August 2015 District Judge Blake handed down a reserved judgment at Westminster Magistrates' Court ordering extradition. In relation to section 19B(3)(d) DJ Blake said the "view of the CPS is that the evidence in this jurisdiction is very limited especially in contrast to the investigation in the Czech Republic."

The Appellant appealed the decision to extradite and further challenged, by way of judicial review, the decision not to issue a witness summons by DJ Purdy. The Appellant submitted, inter alia, that the Court and an Appellant's representative must have access to relevant material from the domestic investigation in order to properly consider Section 19B(3)(d). The Administrative Court decided they would consider the appeal on the basis that the question of the witness summons was a decisive point in the extradition appeal.

Held

To allow such an application for a witness summons would inevitably lead to extensive secondary litigation. The importation of such litigation would subvert the mutuality and effectiveness of the EAW system.
Allowing the appeal could also lead to disclosure of material relevant to criminal proceedings not permitted by statute or the Criminal Procedure Rules. Further it could lead, in effect, to courts reviewing decisions to prosecute contrary to well established authority on that issue.

The appeal was dismissed.

18 April 2016

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