Extradition issue to become ‘toxic’ post-Brexit

THE extradition process "could become toxic once again” if the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is lost as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, a senior civil servant has warned.

A Detail Data investigation has found that in the past ten years hundreds of EAWs have been sought to extradite suspects in high profile cases - which have included murder, rape, human trafficking and terrorism - into and out of Northern Ireland.

Department of Justice (DOJ) documents obtained by Detail Data under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the department believes: "For practical law enforcement the maintenance of the European Arrest Warrant system is essential."

Our investigation of this issue has found that:

  • The PSNI sought 154 EAWs between January 2007 and May 2017. Of these, 95 warrants were granted, leading to the extradition of 49 suspects back to Northern Ireland.
  • The EAWs were sought in relation to offences such as Breach of Licence (13 cases), rape (10), murder (7), human trafficking (2) and terrorism (2).
  • The overwhelming majority of the PSNI applications (114) were for extradition of suspects believed to be in the Republic back to Northern Ireland.
  • Of the 154 suspects, 143 were male.
  • A total of 14 non-EAW extradition requests were made to countries including Australia (6), Bangladesh (2), Brazil (1), India (1), Norway (2) and the USA (1). These were for crimes including rape, murder, GBH and fraud. Of the 14 requests, just two warrants were issued (in the Australian cases). Both of which were actioned.
  • NI Court Service granted 354 extradition applications to other countries from January 2007 to March 2017. Nine other applications were not granted. The courts data does not state how many were EAWs or which countries had sought the extraditions. 

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