Czech Republic v M
On 28 March 2017 M, a single man with no dependants in the UK, was discharged from a European arrest warrant issued by the Czech Republic, in a ruling which stated that surrender would be a disproportionate interference with M’s private life rights.
The chronology of this case is complex and lengthy. In 2015, the Czech Republic issued an EAW for M’s surrender for allegations of desecrating a cemetery, fraud, and failure to pay alimony from 2006 to 2008. M contended he had been extradited and served his sentence for these offences in 2009. After seven months and a number of adjourned hearings the Czech Republic conceded that the EAW was invalid as it was not a conviction warrant. However, the Czech Republic did not fully reply to M’s substantive arguments.
In 2016, the Czech Republic issued a further EAW for the same offences, although this time the EAW included details of the 18 month sentence. Following a number of ineffective full extradition hearings and numerous interim hearings, the district judge discharged M and criticised the Czech Republic and its representatives for the conduct of the proceedings. The District Judge stated:
“I will simply say that the history of the three sets of proceedings does not show the RA or those representing them in particularly good light. There has been prevarication and delay in supplying important information some of which was still not available at the time of this hearing. … Suffice to say that this RP has suffered enough in terms of the amount of time spent on bail and in custody awaiting finality in these matters. This is, in my view, a unique case where the article 8 rights of the RP are disproportionately interfered with in view of the extensive delay caused by the three separate sets of proceedings. It is clear that whatever the reasons for the inadequacy of the earlier EAW’s (sic) and the necessity for numerous adjournments of the current proceedings, the RP is not to blame.
The somewhat unique circumstances of this case, as outlined in the most recent skeleton argument prepared by Mr Hall on the RP’s behalf and the agreed document, result in this being one of those rare occasions where the court should conclude that the balancing exercise [under Article 8 ECHR] should be decided in the RP’s favour and I therefore Order that [M] be discharged from these proceedings”.
Katy Smart was M’s solicitor and counsel instructed was Graeme Hall of Doughty Street Chambers.