Extradition law in Ireland falls into two distinct groupings where accused or sentenced person livings here are sought by the police in overseas Countries. The second grouping is where our Director of Public Prosecutions makes inward extradition requests in respect of our own citizens or persons who have allegedly fled crimes committed here or who have fled prior to their trials or sentences. Crime is of course truly global in this day and age and it is possible to seek an extradition of a suspect where the crime has been committed here but the suspect resides overseas such as in a cyber crime case. Generally, for a crime to be committed there must be a step taken in the criminal investigation such as an arrest and questioning of a suspect. If a person has fled early, on it may not be possible to extradite them. This issue may arise in the case of Michael Lynn. Most extradition laws worldwide are governed by international treaties and conventions. Treaties are basically country to country arrangements to surrender criminal suspects or sentenced person who have fled justice. Conventions (in extradition law) are simply put, a set of legally binding laws where countries sign up to providing extradition to combat specific types of crime like drug trafficking, bribery and corruption. A convention will not be as strong as a treaty between two nations but they are persuasive. The passing of the Framework Decision in the EU has changed forever the way extradition works in Europe. In Ireland the Framework Decision is use in practice in the European Arrest Warrant Act (EAWA). It’s central goal is that wanted or sentenced persons who have fled justice are surrendered within the EU/EEA with less formality than before as EU States recognise and trust one and others criminal justice systems. So provided certain agreed minimum standards are met it can be difficult to prevent surrender in the EU. The key aspects are that the suspect is properly identified, is given legal aid and translation, and that the crimes in the requesting state are also crimes in sending state. This concept is called correspondence of offences. Other issues such as the gravity of the crimes , sentence outcome and prison conditons come into play in any EAWA case. The suspect may consent to surrender and return voluntarily in certain instances. It is imperative that the client has proper advice as to the strenght of their case to object to surrender and the good research is in place in terms of knowing the legal system in the requesting state. The biggest issue that I would have is that while all States in the EU have signed up to providing legal aid there is a huge disparity in legal aid in the EU and a requested person cannot get legal aid in both countires during the process. The overseas legal team need to be paid and only clients with money can afford to have two sets of lawyers whereas the DPP and reuesting state will have the best resources and ample representation. In practice the EAWA is a bit of a blunt instrument. It has come in for harsh critisism as certain States have over used the procedure for even very minor crimes which were committed years ago and this has impacted on the families of accused person who may have started life over in a new country. Persons have been wrongly surrendered on the basis of mistaken identity and false evidence. It is possible to prevent and win cases under the EAWA put the legal arguments must be sound or impact strongly on human rights, such a prison conditions in the requesting state and infringements on the right to a family life. Outside Europe Extradition Treaties apply although under Part 2 of our extradition act of 1965 the fact that a treaty is not in place between Ireland and a Non European country does not mean that extradition cannot occur but the requested person is in a far stronger position to prevent his or her extradition as often one can challenge the evidence and laws of the requesting state on a far wider basis than what is frankly a surrender procedure within the EU. As a solicitor practising in the area, it is essential to develop a relationship with to only your client who is trying to prevent their surrender but also to have a second lawyer working on the other end in the requesting state. It is possible to apply for bail while the Extraditon or EAWA reuest is on-going. Please contact the writer directly if you have any questions on Extraditon or the European Arrest Warrant Act.

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