More argument required from both sides in complex ‘paedo’ extradition case
Judgment was expected on Monday, but magistrate asked for written heads of argument before making her decision
It appears the magistrate overseeing the extradition of a suspected British paedophile underestimated the complexity of the matter, as she’s asked for further argument from both the state and defence – and more time to deliver a judgment.
The 72-year-old Scottish citizen has been living in SA for decades. But it was only in 2010 that a warrant of arrest was issued in Britain, two years after his now adult stepdaughters living there laid indecency charges against him, claiming he had abused them for years.
In 2013, the UK government indicated it wished to extradite the Roodepoort resident, but the local proceedings have been tied up for years.
However, a 2018 Constitutional Court ruling helped give the state the ammunition it needed to fully argue its case.
At his previous appearance earlier this month, magistrate Lee Carolus initially indicated she was ready to give a judgment that day, but a short while later decided to give herself more than a week to put together her decision on whether to send the man to the British authorities.
On Monday, Carolus summoned prosecutor Jacqui Drotsky and defence lawyer Jenna Clark to her chambers.
A short while later the magistrate told the court that due to the complex nature of the matter she had requested written heads of argument from both sides, to be submitted by April 11.
However, she will likely need time to analyse the written arguments, meaning another postponement is likely before she delivers her judgment.
It’s yet another delay in an already five-year court battle, with the case initially scuppered by the man’s legal argument that, based on SA law, the crimes against him had occurred more than 20 years prior, meaning they had prescribed and he could not be prosecuted. This is also why the extradition proceedings could not go ahead.
In 2018, the Constitutional Court made a landmark ruling that changed the law around sexual assault, which now no longer prescribes after 20 years, meaning victims of historical abuse can open cases against their abusers decades after it has taken place.
Since the case was reinstated the extradition proceedings has been running smoothly in recent months, with both sides concluding their closing verbal arguments.
At his previous appearance in March, Clark asked the court to reject key documents requested by the magistrate and submitted by the British government, to prove that it still wished to prosecute the 72-year-old in Britain for his alleged crimes.
Among the documents were statements from authorities indicating a desire to prosecute, as well as an affidavit from a specialist prosecutor who provided the legal arguments that would be used against him.
A Section 10(2) certificate was also provided, which is required by the South African Extradition Act to allow extradition proceedings to continue. It essentially confirms that the British government believes it has a strong criminal case against the man.
Clark objected to these documents being submitted to the court, saying the state needed to request them of its own accord. She said that while Carolus had requested the affidavits confirming that the British government wished to prosecute, there was no direct request for the Section 10(2) certificate.
Carolus dismissed Clark’s application to prevent the court from receiving the documents, saying it wasn’t even necessary for them to be submitted to the court.
Clark also insisted that the statements submitted to the court from the man’s daughters were not sworn affidavits, but merely transcripts of their interviews with the police, and that this also flouted local law.
However, Drotsky was quick to point out that extradition proceedings are not a criminal trial, and that sworn affidavits would not be required.
Meanwhile, Times Select has seen the recording transcripts of the interviews with the man’s two step-daughters, in which they detail how their father figure had allegedly molested them when they lived in SA, and in the UK.
The British investigating officer, Tracy Hall, also revealed how the man had allegedly admitted to the crimes in the past.