QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
MRS JUSTICE HALLETT
|IN THE MATTER OF AN APPLICATION FOR A WRIT OF|
|HABEAS CORPUS AND SUBJICIENDUM|
|IN THE MATTER OF THE EXTRADITION ACT 1989|
|THE GOVERNOR OF HM PRISON BRIXTON|
|GOVERNMENT OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
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(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR J HARDY appeared on behalf of the FIRST RESPONDENT
Friday, 28th February 2003
Crown Copyright ©
"The above named Milan Scuka has received from the investigator of the City office of investigation in Plzen for committing criminal charge of practise of extortion according to the paragraph 235, chapter 1 of the Criminal Code for the criminal act that, he together with Petr Hlavac, born 10.12.1966 and Josef Hlavac born 3.5.1960 in the time since 24.3.1999 till 29.1999 in the Prison of Plzen in section number IV, in the cell number 71, they forced convicted Josef Kouba, born 13.3.1977 to exercise variety of favours for them, to wash their dirty [laundry], to bring them food from the canteen, to make their beds and other cleaning in the cell, they [forbid] him to watch TV, to leave the cell and all this in the reason to be in their disposition when they will need something and they [forbid] him to talk to other inmates so he cannot make any contact, through them, with the warden (security guard)".
"That one who forces someone else by violence or by threatening of violence, to do something, or [omit] something or [suffer], he will be punished up to three years in prison".
" . . . in Ostrava-Kuncicky in the Holvekova street in the shop of POLO on 25th November 1999 at about 1.00 pm he took the advantage of inadvertence of the aggrieved Bozena Pruchnicka and he estranged a purse with the financial amount of CZK 140.00, tickets for mass urban transportation and key from her flat from the bag from her pushcart which she was holding close to her body by which he caused another damage in the amount of CZK 79.00".
"The person who takes a possession of somebody else by the way of usurpation and [among other things] . . .
d) commits the act at the thing somebody else wears or has with . . .
will be sentenced to custodial sentence up to two years or to financial penalty or to forfeiture of the thing".
"Without prejudice to any jurisdiction of the High Court apart from this section, the court shall order the applicant's discharge if it appears to the court in relation to the offence . . . in respect of which the applicant's return is sought, that --
(a) by reason of the trivial nature of the offence . . .
it would, having regard to all the circumstances, be unjust or oppressive to return him".
". . . a tiny guy, he looked like a baby. He was about 20 years old and about 5 foot 3 inches tall and very skinny".
He also says that when he first realised what was happening to him, he could not believe that the other inmates in the cell would do that.
". . . to such a tiny guy. I felt that it was very unfair how they were behaving. I got on okay with him and I felt sorry for him because of what was happening. As far as I could tell, the brothers would not do anything to him while I was around but they used to bully him when I was not there, I did not bully him or threaten him at any time, quite the reverse I helped him".
But the picture there presented is of bullying by other inmates -- and he describes the other inmates as "big guys" -- of a much younger, smaller prisoner.
"Although the word 'forced' may not necessarily always import violence or threat of violence, in the context of this case, it is entirely reasonable to infer that it did. The position here was that Mr Scuka then aged 46 and two other cellmates aged 32 and 38, appear to have ganged up against Mr Kouba 23, their fourth cellmate. Over a five day period, between the 24th and 29th March 1999, Mr Kouba did things he would not have done voluntarily, because he was forced to do them. There is no requirement for the Czech Republic to furnish this court with evidence sufficient to make a case to answer, and a brief description of conduct is sufficient in the circumstances for me to be satisfied that the conduct would break the relevant law of each country. I am not concerned with proof of the facts, the possibilities of other relevant facts, or the emergence of any defence; these are matters for trial. I am aware that the Czech authorities in issuing their warrant for arrest, and the government now requesting Mr Scuka's [return], must have been satisfied that the conduct constituted an offence contrary to paragraph 235, that is satisfied of the 'violence' ingredient".
"All that said, it seems to us quite clear that the interests of justice require at this stage that these proceedings take their normal course".
So they were not prepared to grant the application for an adjournment and the application should be listed in the ordinary course of events.
"6. To surrender if, as and when directed to do so by the Secretary of State; and
7. To surrender, if required to do so, to the custody of any court in connection with these extradition proceedings, upon notice being sent to his last known address".