QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE ROYCE
In the Matter of an Application for a Writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum
And in the matter of the Extradition Act 1989
|THE GOVERNMENT OF SLOVAKIA||(DEFENDANT)|
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MS E EZEKIEL (instructed by CPS) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
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"(1) A person shall not be returned under Part III of this Act, or committed or kept in custody for the purposes of return, if it appears to an appropriate authority . . .
"(d) that he might, if returned, be prejudiced at his trial or punished, detained or restricted in his personal liberty by reason of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions.
"In this Act 'appropriate authority' means . . .
(b) the court of committal."
"It is a well documented fact that Roma have suffered severe discrimination in Slovakia. Provided with the skeleton are a number of articles obtained from the United Nations internet site, Amnesty International internet sites, United States Department of State internet sites and Press Association sites."
"It is clear from the two cases that popular prejudice and discrimination on the part of the populace against a group, whether defined by race or otherwise, is not sufficient to support the applicant's contention."
"A fugitive shall not be returned if the offence in respect of which his surrender is demanded is one of a political character, or if he proved to the satisfaction of the police magistrate or the court before whom he is brought on habeas corpus or to the Secretary of State, that the requisition for his surrender has in fact been made with a view to try or punish him for an offence of a political character."
"I cannot suppose that the Secretary of State was intended to be bound by the strict rules of evidence, nor can I hold that the word 'prove', which is only used once in the subsection, means something different in relation to the Secretary of State from what it means in relation to the court or magistrate. In fact some of the material which your Lordships have admitted could not normally have been received as evidence. No doubt such material may carry less weight than properly sworn statements, but it does not surprise me that the parliament of 1870 intended that on this question of the political character of an offence committed by a refugee nothing of any value should be excluded from consideration."
"Under the law, persons charged with criminal offences are entitled to fair and open public trials, although in practice observers stated that corruption among judges may infringe on a person's right to a fair trial."
"There were reports of torture and ill-treatment of Roma by police officers and one Romany man died in custody in suspicion circumstances. The authorities failed to provide information to Human Rights monitors about investigations into these incidents."
(1) The applicant is charged with a series of offences which have no political or racial dimension of any kind, and there is no suggestion that the application for extradition is not made in good faith.
(2) The application is made by a sovereign democratic state which is regarded by the English legislature in the context of immigration and asylum as a country where, in general, there is no serious risk to persons entitled to reside there, so that removal to that country will not contravene the international obligations of the United Kingdom.
(3) That it is of considerable importance to good relations between nations and to the administration of justice in Europe and beyond, that those allegedly responsible for the commission of serious offences should not be able by crossing borders to escape trial.
(4) That although there is evidence of anti-Roma prejudice in Slovakia, the Authorities do not support it and there is no reliable evidence that it would affect an ordinary criminal trial.
(5) Specifically, in the case of the applicant, there is no evidence that it has ever affected his encounters with the criminal justice system in the past, and in relation to present matters, the fact that he was granted bail is clear evidence to the contrary.
(6) If returned he will stand trial with legal representation which can be of his choosing. There is no reason to think that the procedure or the Trial Court will be prejudiced against him, and if convicted and sentenced he will be sentenced in accordance with guidelines which are racially blind. His sentence will then be served in prisons controlled by the Ministry of Justice which is clearly dedicated to the principle of racial equality.