Success in extradition case at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for George Hepburne Scott

Michael Polak
By: Church Court Chambers July 1, 2024

On 28 June 2024, in the case of C.C. v Italy, George’s client was successfully discharged at Westminster Magistrates’ Court by a judgment of District Judge Leake.

The case involved a conviction in absence for a street robbery committed in Italy in June 2012. The defendant had initially been acquitted in April 2016 and free to leave Italy with no bail conditions. The prosecution had subsequently appealed and, in February 2019, the defendant was convicted in his absence (on appeal) in Italy and sentenced to four years’ and eight months’ custody.

The issues at the extradition hearing were based on Section 20 of the Extradition Act 2003 and had been as follows: was the Judge sure that: (a) the defendant was a fugitive? (b) the defendant was deliberately absent from his trial (on appeal) ie did he have actual or constructive knowledge of it? and (c) the defendant was unconditionally entitled to a re-trial?

George deployed multiple factual and legal arguments which were substantial, novel and complex and in particular relied upon the principles expounded in the two recent Supreme Court judgments of Merticariu v Judecatoria Arad, Romania [2024] UKSC 10 and Bertino v Public Prosecutor’s Office, Italy [2024] UKSC 9 (as well as multiple other authorities) and persuaded the Judge to discharge the defendant on the basis the proper answers to all of the specified questions was “no”.

The extradition request was thus refused and the defendant discharged.



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