QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE BEATSON
|DISTRICT COURT OF BIALYSTOK||(DEFENDANT)|
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MS GEMMA LINDFIELD (instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
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"What happened on the 10th June is hugely significant. The defendant indicated that he would not return to court and that the court could proceed in his absence. He was not legally represented. There seems to be a factual dispute as to whether he told the court that he was going to England. For the purposes of this judgment I am prepared to find that he did. However, he did not provide a UK address and the address that the court may have had for the purpose of the record was that of Halina Pietraszsko [I interpolate, that lady was the girlfriend] and she was in the UK or that of his mother with whom his relationship was strained. Neither address would have provided a forwarding opportunity. The Defendant returned to the UK. He has not returned to Poland since."
The court at Bialystok convened on 18th July 2002 but adjourned again until 24th July 2002 when, as I have said, judgment was given against the appellant.
"In the Autumn of 2002, the defendant and Halina Pietraszko separated permanently. The defendant stayed on in the UK and with appropriate permissions has established a successful building business. He is an industrious man and the references support that. He converted to Islam and in May 2004 married Mrs Rukhsana Kahn, a divorcee, whom he had known for some 17 months. She is a UK national and has a daughter from her first marriage and the defendant has taken responsibility for this girl. The couple have a 1 year old son who has been given the same surname as his half sister in order to preserve the sense of a wholly unified family. Apart from being a practising Muslim, the defendant has embraced the culture and traditions of the community who are from or whose origins are those of Pakistan. He has strong family ties with his wife's family and as parents Mr and Mrs Prus are anxious to be with their children at all times. Mr Prus is well-qualified as a financial consultant but has not worked since the birth of her son."
I should also note that in November 2003 the appellant obtained (and did so it seems perfectly openly) a new passport from the Polish consulate in London.
"Applying the Kakis test, '"unjust" is directed primarily to the risk of prejudice to the accused in the conduct of the trial itself, "oppressive" to hardship to the accused resulting to changes in his circumstances that have occurred during the period taken into consideration'; the 'unjust' argument has little application as the defendant was present during the course of the trial save for those last 2 dates when he chose not to attend. It is acknowledged that between 2003 and 2006 significant events have occurred in the life of Mariusz Prus and that the communication between the Polish agencies was protracted between 2003 and 2004 but the delay has been caused by the defendant removing himself from Poland in June 2002. In my judgment the defendant fails the Kakis test."
"On face of it, [the defendant] clearly acknowledged what was going on. Cannot assert that he knew nothing of proceedings."
I see no reason to disagree with that. He has not been lulled into a false sense of security by anything done by the Polish authorities. If he entertained such a sense, it is because he has, I fear, kept his head in the sand.
"In my judgment, deliberately absenting yourself does not necessarily have overtones of deliberately evading justice but the word 'deliberately' does involve inquiring into the person's state of mind and it connotes a decision taken in the light of all material information."
"... it cannot be argued that handling stolen goods is not a serious offence and thus the Launder [I interpolate, that is a reference to Launder v UK ] criteria that 'it is only in exceptional circumstances that the extradition of a person to face trial on charges of serious offences committed in the requesting state would be held to be an unjustified or disproportionate interference' etc apply.
At the first hearing the defendant was clearly unwell physically and emotionally though more composed at the second. This court is not unsympathetic to his plight but he turned his back on criminal proceedings involving himself in Bialystok and has created some of the delay in their resumption. The fact that he has used that period of delay between 2002 and 2006 to good use is not an exceptional circumstance. Thus I find that an order for his extradition is not disproportionate or unjustified and is compatible with his Convention rights and I therefore make the order."