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On 18 March 2021, George Hepburne Scott’s client, B.F, an Antiguan national, was sensationally discharged from his extradition proceedings at Westminster Magistrates Court following a contested case.
B.F. had been arrested at Gatwick airport on 20th January 2020. He was arrested on provisional warrant issued by the National Crime Agency under s.74(B) of the Extradition Act 2003 pursuant to an Interpol Red Notice issued by the USA.
The allegation was that B.F. had committed an offence of possession of a firearm (.32 calibre revolver loaded with two .32 calibre rounds), had been bailed in New York and then, 24 January 1991, failed to appear at his hearing.
The extradition proceedings had then commenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Upon further examination by the defence team led by George Hepburne Scott, it transpired that the Red Notice was not applied for until 4 February 2015, some 24 years after the US domestic warrant was issued.
This gave rise to powerful arguments that the passage of time and culpable delay had fundamentally undermined the extradition request: B.K.’s life had profoundly changed in the period; He had led a blameless life including having been employed as a police officer in Antigua.
The defence therefore made repeated and powerful representations to the relevant US District Attorney in New York through the Crown Prosecution Service International Justice and Organised Crime Division. This persistence finally paid off when the US confirmed on 17 March 2021 that it was no longer pursuing the case against B.F. and he was sensationally discharged and released on 18 March 2021.
George Hepburne Scott commented: “we are delighted with yet another stunning extradition victory and will continue to ruthlessly defend our clients with all reasonable force and utilising all legal means at our disposal“.
The Solicitor in the case was Giovanna Fiorentino of Lansbury Worthington
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