QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE WALKER
|REGIONAL COURT OF BIALYSTOK (POLAND)||(DEFENDANT)|
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MR J KNOWLES (instructed by the CPS) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
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(1) Given the nature of the fraud alleged, the Polish authorities conducted a proper and expeditious inquiry frustrated, if not actually obstructed, by the appellant's whereabouts being unknown or deliberately concealed from investigators.
(2) The appellant had lived and worked since 2000 in the United Kingdom. However, given that his closest relatives were in Poland, it could not be said that he would suffer oppressive consequences, or anything like, if returned to Poland beyond the routine or inevitable disruption of compulsory return for trial.
(3) There would be nothing unjust in a fraud trial of the kind alleged 11 years on. The Polish criminal justice system must be taken to have adequate safeguards to ensure a fair trial. No actual evidential difficulty had been demonstrated, merely possible speculative difficulties that might perhaps arise. This was not enough to discharge the burden of establishing the bar to extradition relied on.
"'Unjust' I regard as directed primarily to the risk of prejudice to the accused in the conduct of the trial itself, 'oppressive' as directed to hardship to the accused resulting from changes in his circumstances that have occurred during the period to be taken into consideration; but there is room for overlapping, and between them they would cover all cases where to return him would not be fair."
"Delay in the commencement or conduct of extradition proceedings which is brought about by the accused himself by fleeing the country, concealing his whereabouts or evading arrest cannot, in my view, be relied upon as a ground for holding it to be either unjust or oppressive to return him. Any difficulties that he may encounter in the conduct of his defence in consequence of the delay due to such causes are of his own choice and making. Save in the most exceptional circumstances it would be neither unjust nor oppressive that he should be required to accept them."