Monumental Extradition Victory in the Divisional Court in Case Involving MI5 and Spanish Intelligence

By: George Hepburne Scott June 30, 2021

In the case of PB v Spain, the Appellant had argued no less than nine grounds of appeal.

This was a fascinating case: There was evidence before the Court that the Appellant acted a participating informant over many years for the Spanish intelligence agencies until his cover was accidentally blown in April 2004 and blame for this was attributed to him. 

The Appellant was then arrested in the UK in relation to other criminal matters. At this time, he spoke to Special Branch and MI5, but the Spanish police refused to confirm his status as an informant. After this, the Appellant ceased co-operating with the Spanish authorities.

In April 2007, the Applicant’s status in the Spanish investigation was changed from a prosecution witness to a co-defendant by the examining judge, Judge Garzon. On 29 January 2008 the Applicant was indicted in Spain. He challenged that indictment by way of appeal to the Spanish High Court. On 22 December 2009, the indictment of the Appellant was overturned by the Spanish High Court in Madrid. The extradition request was subsequently made in an attempt to compel the Appellant’s return to Spain to face trial. This was resisted but extradition was ordered at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. The Appellant appealed.

The Appellant’s overriding case was that this was a bad faith prosecution and extradition. It was designed to manipulate a prosecution witness/undercover state agent (the Appellant) into providing evidence against co-accused. It was submitted that the judge (Judge Garzon) who orchestrated it had himself later been disbarred for his conduct in relation to another case.

In the event the Divisional Court (Singh LJ and Steyn J) did not find that any such abuse was a bar to extradition, concluding at para 123 that:

The allegation that the police have been guilty of abuse is not sufficient to conclude that the Applicant’s extradition would be an abuse of process. If the Applicant has evidence that the police were guilty of misconduct in 2001-2004 or at another time, he will be able to make those arguments at his trial in Spain and, if they are accepted and are relevant to the issues in the trial, that will be a matter for the Spanish courts.”

However, the Court upheld the appeal and discharged the Appellant on other grounds relating to s.2(4)(c), s.2(4)(d) and s.2(3) of the Extradition Act 2003.” 

Mr George Hepburne Scott, was led by Mr Mark Summers, QC of Matrix Chambers and was instructed by Mr Keith Wood of Lewis Nedas  Law.

Click below for the published report on the case:

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