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Lauri Love v The Government of the United States of America & Liberty

The High Court has ruled that Mr Love should not be extradited to the US to face charges as it would be “oppressive” for him to be tried in the US, but not the UK.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2018/172.html

Mr Love is accused of hacking US government bodies and intelligence agencies in 2012 and 2013. Mr Love suffers from Asperger Syndrome (AS), eczema and depression. Due to a deterioration of his health, Mr Love started receiving mental health treatment in 2006 and moved back in with his parents in 2012.

Mr Love appealed against the decision of District Judge Tempia on 16 September 2016, to send his case to the Secretary of State for the Home Department for her decision whether to order his extradition to the United States of America, under Part 2 of the Extradition Act 2003 ("the 2003 Act").

The High Court disagreed with the Judge's decision in two respects:

1. It was incorrect to hold that the forum bar in section 83A of the 2003 Act, introduced by the Crime and Courts Act 2013, did not prevent Mr Love's extradition.

2. It was incorrect that his extradition would not be oppressive by reason of his physical or mental condition.


Forum bar

There is no need to establish a judicial review type of error, the appellate court simply decides whether the decision of the district judge was wrong. Here the Court disagreed with the Judge about: (a) the prospect that Mr Love would be unfit to plead, and (b) the significance of the absence of a prosecutor's view, the High Court ruled this was not neutral, but a factor favouring the operation of the forum bar.
The Court stated the location of the harm and interests of the victim were rightly given very great weight, but here the Court were persuaded by Mr Love's connections to the UK; his entire well-being is bound up with his parents. This could not be provided abroad. Due to his medical conditions there was a high risk that Mr Love would not be fit to stand trial in the US. In this case the forum bar operates to prevent Mr Love's extradition to the US.

Oppression

The Judge had accepted the evidence that Mr Love would be at high risk of committing suicide, but found this would be prevented as no one has committed suicide on suicide watch in the care of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"). The High Court did not accept this risk would be sufficiently mitigated, and were concerned that Mr Love might present himself as no longer suicidal, be removed from suicide watch, and then commit suicide.

After an extensive analysis of the available evidence, the High Court found that Mr Love's extradition would be oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition, but that this would not be the case were he to be tried in the UK which is what the Court expects to now happen.

 

20 March 2018

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