Bindmans LLP secures discharge of Romanian extradition warrant for victim of modern slavery and human trafficking.
Our client’s extradition was sought by the Romanian government to serve a three-year sentence for accessory to rob that was triggered following his conviction for four charges of assault. Before the criminal proceedings in Romania concluded, our client was trafficked to the UK and held in modern slavery where he was forced to live and work in appalling conditions. Our client eventually fled his captors in 2015, and briefly returned to Romania before he returned to the UK permanently.
This is the Romanian authority’s second attempt to extradite our client, the previous warrant having been discharged in 2017 on Article 3 grounds, owing to the Romanian authority’s failure to provide an assurance regarding prison conditions. Since that time, our client has successfully defended deportation proceedings in the immigration tribunal. In spite of these difficulties, our client has rebuilt his life with his partner in the UK and her two children from a previous relationship. Our client and his partner are both extremely vulnerable, our client still recovering from his experiences as a victim of modern slavery and his partner recovering from a long history of abuse at the hands of her step-father and ex-husband. The impact of these proceedings on them and their young family has been devasting.
In preparation for our client’s case, Bindmans instructed an expert in modern slavery and pursued a referral to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). Following our detailed representations, the SCA ultimately reached a positive conclusive grounds decision in respect of our client. In light of the history of abuse that our client’s partner and her children experienced at the hands of their father, Bindmans also instructed a child psychologist who provided compelling evidence at our client’s final extradition hearing.
At the final hearing, arguments were successfully advanced that extradition would be oppressive owing to delay, and result in a disproportionate interference with our client and his family’s Article 8 rights. In his judgment, DJ Sternberg confirmed that:
Bearing in mind the relatively low level of seriousness of the offences for which the requested person is sought, his poor physical health, his experience of having been trafficked, the culpable delay on the part of the Romanian authorities and the impact on his partner and her children as well as on DC himself, I find that his surrender in this case goes some way beyond the hardship inherent in extradition and that it would give rise to oppression.Para 54
With regards to the specific impact on our client’s partner and her young sons, DJ Sternberg relied heavily on the evidence of our client’s partner and the child psychologist instructed by Bindmans. He found that:
[DC’s] extradition will have a real and stark impact on his partner. As I have found above, she will lose his financial, practical and emotional support. She will suffer a deterioration in her mental health. There is limited support available to her from the requested person’s brothers and her friend. Her two sons would also suffer, significantly, in my analysis, in the event of the requested person’s extradition. In my judgment the impact on the requested person and on his partner and her sons is sufficiently serious to render the interference in his and his family’s article 8 ECHR rights disproportionate in this casePara 60
Finally, DJ Sternberg was persuaded that our client was a victim of modern slavery, stating that he ‘considers his experiences of modern slavery and human trafficking to be highly relevant to the question of whether his extradition would be disproportionate’.
The CPS has confirmed that they will not appeal.
Bindmans LLP’s client was represented by Hester Cavaciuti, Kate Goold and Claire Hann of Bindmans LLP, together with Adam Payter from 6KBW Chambers.