Kidnapping of Chloe Ayling; guilt or innocence is irrelevant in extradition proceedings
A high-profile extradition was ordered on 29 September 2017 by District Judge Goldspring. Mr Michal Herba’s extradition is sought by Italy for the alleged kidnapping of Chloe Ayling. His lawyers argued that the details of the warrant were deficient, extradition would be in breach of his human rights and that it would be an abuse of process.
Case of publicity stunt?
The arguments against extradition rest largely on the suggestion that the allegations made by Chloe Ayling were a scam. However, DJ Goldspring’s written judgment makes it clear that the Italian Judicial Authority based their decision to prosecute Herba on evidence obtained from DNA, video footage, computer analysis and Chloe Ayling’s statement.
Herba’s lawyers argued that the alleged kidnapping was a publicity stunt and therefore his extradition breaches his right to a fair trial (Article 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998) and/or amounts to an abuse of process. He served newspaper articles and reports that were described as ‘open source material’ to challenge the veracity of Chloe Ayling’s statement to the Italian authorities.
The onus lies on Herba to prove both the Article 6 breaches and the abuse; he has to prove that he is at a real risk of suffering a flagrant denial of a fair trial in Italy for his Article 6 claim or provide cogent evidence to prove that the extradition process is being usurped, resulting in prejudice against him. The newspaper articles and opinions that Chloe Ayling’s kidnap may be a publicity stunt do not satisfy the high threshold for both arguments. Herba faces an uphill battle to prove both arguments evidentially and legally, especially against the presumption that an EU member state will comply with the European Convention of Human Rights.
The fact: culpability is irrelevant in extradition
Despite Herba’s protest of innocence, it is simply not a matter for the English courts to consider whether he is guilty or not. A person’s guilt or innocence is irrelevant for the purposes of extradition. That decision lies with the Requesting state and the English courts are slow to consider any evidence of guilt or innocence when determining whether extradition should be ordered or not.
Herba’s lawyers have stated that they intend to appeal against DJ Goldspring’s decision. They will now have to persuade the High Court that they have an arguable case for permission to appeal.
Please contact us on 0207 388 1658, or email email@example.com if you wish to discuss your extradition matter with us further, or to find out whether you would be eligible for legal aid for extradition matters. We have a dedicated team of lawyers specialising in extradition who are here to help you.
Cheryl Low, Solicitor