Romania V RT 24 Jan 2024

Introduction:
In a recent legal victory, Berri’s Law successfully secured a favourable judgment in an extradition appeal, challenging the order to extradite the appellant to Romania. This blog provides a comprehensive summary of the judge’s decision, shedding light on the intricacies of the case and the key elements that led to the reversal of the extradition order.

Background:
The appellant, a Romanian national aged 50, faced extradition on charges related to refusing or evading the taking of a biological sample, stemming from an incident in 2015. Despite a guilty plea in 2016 and a suspended sentence, subsequent events, including the appellant’s move to the UK, separation from his wife, and the complex mental health issues of his son, added layers of complexity to the extradition proceedings.

The Judge’s Assessment:
The judge, in granting permission to appeal, acknowledged the correctness of District Judge observations. The appellant’s legal team argued that the extradition would violate Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, protecting the right to respect for private and family life. The judge meticulously considered the evidence and legal arguments presented before rendering a decision.

1. Proportionality and Article 8:
The crux of the appellant’s defence rested on Article 8, emphasizing the potential disproportionate impact of extradition on his family life. The judge, referencing Celiniski, focused on whether the DJ had appropriately conducted the balancing exercise required by the law.

2. Factual Background and Timeline:
The judge considered the appellant’s criminal history, compliance with conditions, and the subsequent events leading up to the extradition request. Notable points included the appellant’s settled status in the UK, activation of his suspended sentence in Romania, and a 2022 arrest.

3. Son’s Mental Health:
The appellant’s son,  played a crucial role in the assessment. The judge scrutinized the evidence related to his son’s mental health, considering expert opinions and the potential consequences of non-compliance with medication. The judge found that the DJ had failed to adequately address the severe impact on his son in the balancing exercise.

4. Delay and Sentencing Considerations:
The judge highlighted periods of delay in the legal proceedings and the appellant’s compliance with some aspects of the sentence. The seriousness of the offense, the absence of loss or injury, and the potential non-crossing of the custody threshold were cited as relevant factors.

5. Public Interest in Extradition:
The judge, drawing on precedent (Norris v Govt of USA), considered the public interest in extradition concerning the severity of the offense and the impact on innocent family members. The judge ultimately found that the DJ’s assessment was flawed, particularly regarding the exceptionally severe impact on his son.

Conclusion:
In concluding the judgment, the judge emphasized that the decision to extradite was disproportionate, citing errors in the assessment of the son’s mental health, delays, and the overall impact on the appellant’s family life. This case, underscores the importance of a thorough and fair analysis in extradition appeals, where human rights considerations must be carefully weighed against the public interest. Berri’s Law’s success in this case sets a precedent for future extradition appeals centred on Article 8 and reinforces the need for a nuanced approach to justice in such complex matters.