UK Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Taiwan Judiciary in Extradition Case

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled in favor of Taiwan judicial authorities contesting a decision made by the Appeal Court in Scotland concerning the extradition of a Scotsman who absconded from Taiwan after being convicted of offenses relating to a fatal traffic accident in 2010.

Zain Dean was convicted and sentenced after trial by the District Court of Taipei in March 2011. The court pronounced Dean guilty of driving while under the influence of alcohol, negligent manslaughter, and leaving the scene of an accident. The court handed down a sentence of two years and six months.

Dean appealed to the High Court of Taiwan. New evidence presented during the appeal hearing led the court to reject his appeal and increase his sentence to four years.

Dean then appealed to the Supreme Court, but fled the country using a friend’s passport while on bail.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice applied to the UK for Dean’s extradition in October, 2013. Although Taiwan and the UK did not have an extradition treaty, a special Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two nations especially to deal with the case.

The extradition request was approved, and Dean was arrested on October 17, 2013.

However, Dean made numerous appeals against the extradition order. In the interim Dean spent almost three years in custody in Scotland.

In September 2016, the Appeal Court of the High Court of the Justiciary (Scotland) quashed an order for the extradition of Mr Dean based on the assumption that serving the residual sentence in Taiwan would not be compatible with his rights under article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, on the basis of: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom today ruled that the Appeal Court had applied the wrong legal test when making the judgement because the judges failed to draw a distinction between the threat from other prisoners, and the conduct for which the state was responsible.

The Supreme Court determined that the assurances from the Taiwanese Government offered the respondent reasonable protection against violence by non-state actors, and the circumstances of his confinement, should he be unable to mix with the wider prison population, would not entail a real risk of his being subject to treatment that infringes ECHR Article 3.

The Supreme Court of the UK then threw the ball back to the Scottish Appeals Court.

Source: UK Supreme Court

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