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Belbin v Lille Court of First Instance, France

Summary

The contention advanced by Miss Anna Booth on the Appellant's behalf is that his appearance before Southwark Crown Court on 21 July 2011 (following his arrest on 13 July 2010) on an indictment containing two counts, one of conspiracy to supply cannabis and one of conspiracy to supply amphetamine, to the first of which he pleaded guilty and in respect of the second of which no evidence was offered resulting in a not guilty verdict being entered, ought to prevent his extradition. Her argument, based on well-established authorities, is that the case against him in France is founded on the same or substantially the same facts as those which were relevant to the case before Southwark Crown Court and, accordingly, it would be wrong to extradite him in effect to face the same set of allegations twice. This was the argument rejected by the District Judge whose decision is supported by Mr Adam Payter on behalf of the Respondent. He contends that the District Judge was correct to conclude that the French proceedings for the conspiracy offence and the three money laundering offences do not arise out of "the same or substantially the same facts" as the proceedings in the United Kingdom although he concedes that there is, as he put it, "a limited degree of evidential and temporal overlap between the two sets of proceedings". He says (a) that the offences for which the Appellant is sought, namely, money laundering and conspiracy, are entirely different from those pursued domestically, namely, drug supply; (b) the extent of the criminality set out in the EAW is far wider than in the domestic proceedings; and (c) that it was not possible to pursue the Appellant in the United Kingdom for the offences set out in the EAW.

Held: Like the District Judge I am unable to accept that there is any basis upon which the Appellant's extradition should be prevented on the grounds of double jeopardy. He is, as I have indicated (paragraph 4 above), entitled to a re-trial in France within two months and I understand that his convictions will be set aside so that he can have that re-trial. He will be entitled, if he chooses to do so, to raise the issue of double jeopardy before the French court.

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