9BR Chambers team secures discharge of requested person on basis that he is unfit to plead or participate in proceedings

17 August 2021

On 11 August 2021, District Judge John McGarva (DJ) handed down judgment in the case of Poland v R. The issuing judicial authority sought the requested person’s surrender to try him in Poland for his role in a £2 million MTIC/missing trader VAT fraud that took place in 2013-2014.

Unusually, the Court considered evidence from two independent psychiatrists; one instructed by the requested person, the other by the CPS. The DJ noted in his judgment that “[t]he conclusion of the experts is that [R] is not fit to plead and there is no indication as to when if ever he will be. This is a view which is accepted by the Judicial Authority and the Requested Person. It is also common ground that extradition would lead to a deterioration in his mental state and increase the risk of self-harm and suicide.

Following a two-day extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the DJ discharged the requested person, stating: “[h]aving considered all the issues I conclude that it would be unjust and oppressive to order [R’s] extradition to Poland in circumstances where he is likely to be found unfit to plead, where that is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future and in the absence of any undertaking about his return to the United Kingdom and where extradition would have a negative impact on his mental health…I have found that it would be unjust and oppressive to extradite him. I therefore order his discharge under section 25[3][a] Extradition Act 2003.

The CPS has indicated that it will not appeal the discharge of the requested person.

Mr R was represented by Abbas Lakha QC and Ben Joyes of 9 Bedford Row, who were instructed by Balaal Khan of BKP solicitors.