Rebecca Hill blocks pregnant woman's extradition to Argentina

Monday 26 March 2012

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A pregnant woman who was facing extradition to Argentina on drug trafficking charges has won her appeal against extradition thanks to assistance from Rebecca Hill. The appeal in the Administrative Court was allowed on the grounds that prison conditions in Argentina could lead to a breech of Art 3 rights, which prevent inhumane or degrading treatment.

Rebecca was instructed to review the case following the District Judge and Secretary of State's decision to extradite Lucy Wright. Ms Wright's extradition was sought in order that she might be prosecuted, in Argentina, for trafficking drugs from Peru via Argentina to the United Kingdom. Having been arrested in Argentina, and on her own admission, breached her bail to return to the UK, she surrendered herself to a police station here. No action was taken. Several years later she was arrested pursuant to the Argentinean request.

Having reviewed the case Rebecca identified issues arising from a possible breach of Art 3 of the ECHR (prohibition of torture and inhumane and degrading treatment) which had not been argued in the Magistrates' Court. Accordingly an expert was instructed and considerable care taken in the preparation of a case that prison conditions in Argentina were so abhorrent that there was a real risk that Ms Wright's Art 3 rights would be breached. This was the foundation for the Divisional Court's decision to discharge Ms Wright.

During the course of the case, Rebecca also conducted a habeas corpus application in relation to procedural deficiencies in the Administrative Court, as well as a judicial review of the CPS and police decision not to prosecute Ms Wright here. While neither was successful the latter proved relevant to the reasoning of the Court in allowing the appeal.

The case has attracted wide media attention, having been reported by the BBC, The Guardian, and The Telegraph.

Rebecca Hill is a member of the Garden Court Extradition Law Team.

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