Minister for Justice and Equality v Harrison

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr. Justice Binchy
Judgment Date24 January 2020
Neutral Citation[2020] IEHC 29
Docket Number[2019 No. 355 EXT]
Date24 January 2020
BETWEEN
MINISTER FOR JUSTICE & EQUALITY
APPLICANT
AND
EAMONN RONALD HARRISON
RESPONDENT

[2020] IEHC 29

Binchy J.

[2019 No. 355 EXT]

THE HIGH COURT

European arrest warrant – Surrender – Points of objection – Applicant seeking an order for the surrender of the respondent pursuant to a European Arrest Warrant – Whether the surrender of the respondent was prohibited

Facts: The applicant, the Minister for Justice and Equality, sought an order for the surrender of the respondent, Mr Harrison, to the United Kingdom pursuant to a European Arrest Warrant dated 30th October, 2019 (the EAW). The EAW was issued by District Judge Snow, a District Judge of the Magistrates’ Court sitting at Westminster Magistrates’ Court as issuing judicial authority. The EAW was endorsed by the High Court on 31st October, 2019, and the respondent was arrested and brought before the High Court on 1st November, 2019. The amended points of objection filed on behalf of the respondent were as follows: the additional information provided by the Crown Prosecution Service, Organised Crime Division, London, by letter of 4th December, 2019, was inadmissible; the surrender of the respondent was prohibited by s. 44 of the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003; the EAW did not comply with s. 11(1A)(f) of the 2003 Act; surrender in respect of the 39 offences of manslaughter was prohibited by s. 38(1) of the 2003 Act; the applicant was not entitled to rely on s. 38(1)(B) of the 2003 Act and/or the provisions of Article 2(2) of the Framework Decision to disengage the requirement to prove correspondence of the offences described in the EAW, with offences in Ireland’s jurisdiction; the offence provided for in s. 2 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 did not correspond to any offence under Irish law, and nor did any of the acts of the respondent as described in the EAW, which might amount to an offence under that provision, amount to an offence under Irish law; none of the actions of the respondent as described in the EAW as being contrary to s. 25 of the Immigration Act 1971, corresponded to any offence under Irish law; the surrender of the respondent was prohibited because the EAW did not identify the name of the representative District Judge of the Magistrates’ Court in para (i) of the warrant; surrender of the respondent was prohibited by s. 37 of the 2003 Act; and the surrender of the respondent was prohibited by s. 21 of the 2003 Act.

Held by Binchy J that he would dismiss all of the objections of the respondent to this application.

Binchy J held that the Court would make an order pursuant to s. 16 of the 2003 Act for the surrender of the respondent to the United Kingdom in connection with the charges set forth in the EAW.

Application granted.

JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Binchy delivered on the 24th day of January, 2020
1

By this application, the applicant seeks an order for the surrender of the respondent to the United Kingdom pursuant to a European Arrest Warrant dated 30th October, 2019 (“the EAW”). The EAW was issued by District Judge Michael Snow, a District Judge of the Magistrates' Court sitting at Westminster Magistrates' Court as issuing judicial authority.

2

The EAW was endorsed by the High Court on 31st October, 2019, and the respondent was arrested and brought before this Court on 1st November, 2019.

3

This application was first opened in this Court on 21st November, 2019, on which date this Court made an order pursuant to s. 20 of the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003 (as amended) (“the Act of 2003”) requiring the provision of additional information. The letter requesting this information was sent to the Central Authority in the United Kingdom on 26th November, 2019. A reply was sent not by that authority, but by the Crown Prosecution Service, Organised Crime Division, London (“ CPS“) on 4th December, 2019. The reply comprises a letter of that date and a 36 page document entitled “Response to request for additional Information”. The hearing of this application then proceeded before this Court and was heard over the 12th and 13th December, 2019.

4

At the hearing of the application, I was satisfied that the person before the Court is the person in respect of whom the EAW was issued and in any case this was not denied by the respondent.

5

I was further satisfied that none of the matters referred to in ss. 22, 23 and 24 of the Act of 2003 arise and that the surrender of the respondent is not prohibited for any of the reasons set forth in any of those sections. An objection was raised, however, on behalf of the respondent, that his surrender is prohibited by s. 21A of the Act of 2003, and I address that later in this judgment.

6

The EAW states at para. (b) that the decision on which the EAW is based is an arrest warrant dated 29th October, 2019, issued at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court by Justice of the Peace, Mr. C. Stokes and describes the type of warrant as being: “Accused”.

7

At para. (c) of the warrant it is stated that the maximum length of the custodial sentences or detention orders which may be imposed upon the respondent, if convicted of the offences referred to in the EAW are:

(1) Manslaughter – life imprisonment;

(2) Conspiracy to commit a human trafficking offence under s. 2 of the Modern Slavery Act, contrary to s. 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977, Immigration Act 1971 – life imprisonment and

(3) Conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration under s. 25 of the Immigration Act 1971, contrary to s. 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 – 14 years' imprisonment.

(Later in the EAW, at para.s (e)(2) and (e)(3), the reference to the Criminal Law Act 1977 is mistakenly stated as the Criminal Law Act 1971. However, in the further information of 4th December, 2019, reference to the Criminal Law Act of 1971 is corrected to the Criminal Law Act of 1977.)

8

It is apparent from the above that the requirements as to minimum gravity of each of the offences referred to in the EAW are met.

9

At para. (e) of the EAW it is stated that the warrant relates to a total of 41 offences. Particulars of the offences are briefly stated and since this is an issue of some significance in this application, I will set out the same exactly as stated in the EAW, as follows:

“The case against Eamon Harrison relates to the trafficking and subsequent deaths of 39 people within an artic trailer unit GTR1 28D. At 01:38 on Wednesday 23 October 2019 Essex Police received a call from the East of England Ambulance Service stating that they were getting reports of 25 illegal immigrants not breathing within a lorry in the area of Eastern Avenue, Waterglade Industrial, West Thurrock, Essex. Police attended the scene. The driver of the lorry was standing at the back of the trailer. He was later identified as Maurice Robinson. Inside the trailer was a total of 39 people, 8 females and 31 males who were all deceased. Enquires revealed that the trailer unit GTR1 28D had been delivered by a lorry BB221 3BP to Zeebrugge, Belgium before being transported to the UK where it was collected by Maurice Robinson from the Port of Purfleet, Essex. On 22 October 2019 Eamon Harrison has been identified as the driver of the lorry BB221 3BP which was used to deliver the trailer unit GTR1 28D to the port in Zeebrugge. CCTV, taken several hours before at a truck stop in Veurne, Belgium shows Eamon Harrison to be the driver of BB221 3BP. That lorry deposited the trailer unit, GTR1 28D at Zeebrugge for its onward transmission to Purfleet, Essex. A shipping notice provided at Zeebrugge when the tractor unit arrived at the gate was signed in the name ‘Eamonn Harrison’. Eamon Harrison travelled back to Ireland in the lorry BB221 3BP via a ferry from Cherbourg, France.”

10

Particulars of the offences alleged against the respondent are set out immediately after the narrative above, as follows:

“(1) Manslaughter – contrary to common law

The offence is made out if it is proved that the accused intentionally did an unlawful and dangerous act from which death inadvertently resulted.

(2) Conspiracy to commit a human trafficking offence under section 2 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1971 (sic). A person commits an offence if the person arranges or facilitates the travel of another with a view to them being exploited;

(3) Conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration under section 25 of the Immigration Act 1971, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1971 (sic). A person commits an offence if he does an act which facilitates the commission of a breach of immigration law by an individual who is not a citizen of the European Union.

The offence of conspiracy is made out if a person agrees with any other person or persons that a course of conduct shall be pursued which will necessarily amount to or involve the commission of any offence or offences.”

11

Two paragraphs on from the particulars of the offences set out above, it is stated by the issuing judicial authority that:

“I am satisfied that a Crown Prosecutor in the Crown Prosecution Service, whose function is to decide whether or not to prosecute an individual for the alleged commission of criminal offences, has decided to charge the person named herein and to try him for the offences specified above and for which this warrant is issued.”

12

Thereafter, at para. (e) I, the issuing judicial authority has ticked the box referable to “trafficking in human beings”, leaving un-ticked the remaining boxes in this part of the EAW. At para. (e) II, under the heading “full description of offences not covered by section I above:” it is stated:

“Manslaughter, contrary to common law

Conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration under section 25 of the Immigration Act 1971, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1971 (sic).”

13

Undated points of objection were initially delivered in response to the EAW. Thereafter, amended...

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2 cases
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