Extradition and the ‘passage of time’
It is not uncommon in extradition cases for people to be arrested many years after an offence has happened.
The Extradition Act provides some protection for people who knew nothing about a case until they are arrested. They can argue that they should not be extradited because of the ‘passage of time’. It doesn’t matter if you are just accused of an offence or were convicted in your absence. However, there are some restrictions. If you knew about the case, and chose to leave the country because of it or simply ignored it, you cannot rely on the passage of time.
Even if you knew nothing about the case, that isn’t the end of it. It isn’t enough just to say that because so much time has passed since the offence you shouldn’t be extradited. You also have to show that it would be ‘unjust’ or ‘oppressive’.
Unjust or oppressive
Here, ‘unjust’ basically means that you would not be able to have a fair trial. For example, witnesses might have died or gone missing, or the case relies on people’s memories, which obviously don’t always last that long.
Whether it would be ‘oppressive’ will depend on your personal situation; family, education, work and so on, and especially whether or not you have committed offences in this country.
There is no set amount of time that has to have passed before a Judge will say you should not be extradited. It will also depend on what offence you are accused of. If you are accused of murder, much more time will have to have passed than if you were accused of theft, for example.
How can we help?
Please contact us if you wish to discuss your extradition matter with us further. We can also tell you if you will be eligible for legal aid for extradition matters. We have a dedicated team of lawyers specialising in extradition who are here to help you.
If you want to know more about the basics of extradition, you can do so here
John Howey, Senior Solicitor
Please note that the information contained in this article was correct at the time of writing. There may have been updates to the law since the article was written, which may affect the information and advice given therein.