Westminster Magistrates’ Court has refused to extradite a woman to Belgium to face offences pertaining to fraud and bankruptcy. Represented by Chloe Hingley, Consultant Solicitor at BSB Solicitors, and Saoirse Townshend, Barrister at Temple Garden Chambers, the Requested Person, and her partner, were each arrested on two European Arrest Warrants for ten offences.
It was argued that some of the offences that the Belgium authorities wished to extradite her on did not satisfy the dual criminality requirement and it was conceded, by the Issuing Judicial Authority, that three of the ten offences did not amount to offences for the purpose of extradition proceedings. Both requested persons were therefore discharged on those offences.
The requested person has been settled in the UK since 2015, lives with her partner, three young children and is pregnant with her fourth, expected later this year. When asked to consider the impact extradition would have on the children if both parents were extradited the Belgian Authorities concluded that they “..don’t really see any difference compared to the situation where both parents would be convicted in the UK and would have to serve their prison sentences there’ and sought extradition of both parents in the first instance.
The District Judge after hearing submissions and expert evidence on behalf of our client, accepted that extradition to Belgium would be a disproportionate interference with her right to a private and family life.
In applying the Article 8 balancing exercise, despite our client being deemed a fugitive and notwithstanding the nature/seriousness of the offences, the Judge accepted “that a combination of the damaging consequences for her children, her pregnancy and mental health make it incompatible with the rights of her and her children for her to be extradited to Belgium “
Our client was discharged on both warrants and her extradition was blocked.
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