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Court sets April 12 to decide on UK national's extradition

Date published: Wednesday, 6th April 2016

David Philip McDermott

The High Court in Accra will, on April 12, 2016, decide whether or not to extradite the British national who is on the run from the British authorities for allegedly smuggling 400 kilogrammes of cocaine to the United Kingdom (UK).

David Philip McDermott has been on the run for the past three years from the authorities of the UK but was picked up at his hideout in Accra on March 11, 2016.

The British authorities are requesting his extradition and have, accordingly, attached the necessary legal documents to facilitate the process.

Extradition proceedings for McDermott, who is alleged to have been part of a gang that smuggled 400 kilogrammes of cocaine, with a street value of £70 million, from Argentina to the UK, began at the Criminal Division of the Accra High Court on March 22, 2016.

Earlier at the court’s sitting in Accra yesterday, the prosecution and the defence teams addressed the court on whether or not the fugitive should be extradited.

Counsel for the fugitive, Mr Victor Adawudu, is battling the state in his bid to stop the process.

According to him, Ghana and the UK did not have an extradition agreement.

Counsel also argued that his client could be tried in Ghana, adding that his client had not been convicted in the UK.

Mr Adawudu said the state had breached the extradition procedures with impunity, insisting that the extradition treaty the prosecution was relying on had been repealed.

He urged the court to boldly decline the invitation by the state to extradite his client because the court had the jurisdiction to hear the case.

But a Senior State Attorney, Mr Richard Gyambiby, held a different view and insisted that there was a valid extradition agreement between Ghana and the UK.

He said the prosecution was not seeking to try the fugitive in Ghana but was only interested in seeking a court order to extradite him.

Background

McDermott is wanted by the UK government to stand trial in the Liverpool and Knowsley Magistrates Court for narcotic offences in the UK.

He is facing three counts, namely, conspiracy to contravene Section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act, 1979, contrary to Section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977; conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class A, contrary to Section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977, and conspiracy to blackmail, contrary to Section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 of the UK.

The prosecution said McDermott was believed to be a key figure within the conspiracy to supply a large quantity of cocaine to the UK, for which his extradition was being sought by the UK government.

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