Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform -v- Puta Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform -v- Sulej, [2008] IESC 30 (2008)

Docket Number:134/07 & 135/07
Party Name:Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform, Puta Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform -v- Sulej
Judge:Fennelly J.

THE SUPREME COURTNo 134/07No. 135/07Murray C.J. Hardiman J. Geoghegan J. Fennelly J. Finnegan J.IN THE MATTER OF THE EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT ACT 2003 Between:THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND LAW REFORM Applicant/Respondent-AND-TOMÁŠ PÙTA Respondent/AppellantTHE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND LAW REFORM Applicant/Respondent-AND-MAROŠ ŠULEJRespondent/AppellantJUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Fennelly delivered the 6th day of May 20081. The court has delivered judgment rejecting the appeal of the above-name appellants who, together with one Mohammed Iqbal, contested the validity, having regard to the Constitution, of the European Arrest Warrant Act, 2003. In this judgment I consider independent complaints made by the two appellants concerned in these appeals, which do not relate to the constitutional validity of the Act.2. On 10th July 2006 European Arrest Warrants were issued by the Regional Court in Prague, a judicial authority in the Czech Republic, in respect of TomᚠPùta (the "first appellant") and Maroš Sulej (the "second appellant"). The first appellant is sought in respect of seven and the second appellant in respect of four charges of robbery and theft. All the offences are alleged to have been committed in the Czech Republic in 2000 and 2001. The first appellant is a citizen of the Czech Republic. The second appellant is a citizen of the Slovak Republic.3. Each warrant was duly endorsed for execution by the High Court on 14th July 2006; the appellants were arrested on 25th August 2006; they were brought before the High Court (Peart J). Each filed Points of Objection and a number of supporting affidavits. Having heard appropriate evidence on formal matters such as identity, the learned High Court judge was satisfied that, subject the issues that had been raised in relation to fundamental rights under Part III of the Act of 2003, he was required to make the order sought in respect of each of the appellants.4. The appellants advanced a number of grounds of objection to their surrender at the hearing in the High Court. Only three of these have been pursued on the appeal, namely:1. The law implementing the European Arrest Warrant in the Czech Republic as from 1st January 2005 purports to apply retrospectively insofar as the appellants are concerned. Their offences are alleged to have been committed in 2000 and 2001. Czech law does not permit the surrender from the Czech Republic of Czech citizens to other European Union countries in respect of offences committed prior to 1st January 2005. This, it was argued, constitutes discrimination contrary to Czech Constitutional principles. Hence, the European Arrest Warrant was not duly issued for the purposes of section 10 of the Act of 2003.2. The appellants, according to their affidavits, believe the Czech Republic to be deeply corrupt. They worry for their safety, if returned. They will not have a fair trial, inter alia, because of widespread prejudicial publicity. To return them, in these circumstances, would be contrary to section 37 of the Act of 2003.3. They say, based on the evidence given by a Czech official on a bail application in the High Court, that they will, if they are surrendered to the Czech Republic, be prosecuted or imprisoned in respect of offences other than those covered by the European Arrest warrants, in breach of sections 22 to 24 of the Act of 2003.5. Peart J rejected each of these grounds of objection and made an order in the case of each appellant for his surrender to the Czech Republic pursuant to section 16(1) of the Act of 2003.The appeal6. The appellants have brought appeals against the decision of the High Court in respect of the above three grounds.The first ground: the warrants were not duly issuedEvidence of Czech law was placed before the High Court in each case. Each of the appellants relied on affidavit evidence from a person apparently qualified to practice law in the Czech Republic. The Minister's written submissions complain that the document produced in the case of the second appellant appears to be an unsworn document. Nevertheless, for what it is worth it seems to identify a simple legal contention.7. Stripped down to its essentials, the point made relates to an alleged difference of treatment of the appellants compared with the treatment, under the rules...

To continue reading