Wawrzyczek v District Court in Bielsko-Biala, Poland [2015] EWHC 2854 (Admin)

On 9 October 2015, the High Court allowed the appeal against the order for extradition of Adam Wawrzyczek, from the United Kingdom to Poland, pursuant to a European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

The Court found that it had not been established that Mr Wawrzyczek’s absence from trial proceedings in Poland had been deliberate, on the basis that it had not been established that the appellant had been served with two summonses. The judgement is here.

Facts

Mr Wawrzyczek was sought in Poland in relation to three alleged offences of fraud, totalling £12,600, allegedly committed between 2002 and 2005, with a total of two years and six months’ imprisonment remaining to be served.

It was contended by the judicial authority that Mr Wawrzyczek was summoned in person on 29 September 2005 (the first summons), and on 9 November 2006 (the second summons). Mr Wawrzyczek moved to the UK in January 2006 and returned to Poland once, in 2007.

At a full extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 1 May 2015, before District Judge Ikram, the judicial authority (the District Court in Bielsko-Biala ) stated for the first time that the term ‘summoned in person’ meant that the summons had been served on Mr Wawrzyczek personally. Mr Wawrzyczek provided evidence of his move to the UK, including his P60.

On 19 May 2015, Mr Wawrzyczek’s lawyer provided further evidence to District Judge Ikram, in the form of Mr Wawrzyczek’s pay slip for the period in which the second summons was issued, which set out that he was working a 40-hour week during this period, plus overtime. It was contended that it was impossible for him to have received the summons in person; he therefore did not know about his trial dates, and was entitled to a retrial.

District Judge Ikram, 29 May 2015

In his decision delivered on 29 May 2015, District Judge Ikram refused to accept Mr Wawrzyczek’s payslips as evidence, finding that, in accordance with directions given at the first hearing, parties were not permitted to submit further evidence after all the evidence has been heard at the substantive hearing, and no good reason for the earlier omission had been provided.

Further, District Judge Ikram did not find the evidence given by Mr Wawrzyczek on the issue of whether he had not been served personally with both summonses, to be credible. District Judge Ikram ordered the extradition of Mr Wawrzyczek, who appealed the decision.

Cranston J granted permission to appeal on three grounds: dual criminality (section 10 EA 2003); retrial rights (s. 20 EA 2003); and passage of time (s. 14 EA 2003). Of particular note, it was contended by Mr Wawrzyczek that, on the basis that the judicial authority could not demonstrate that he was entitled to a retrial, his extradition was barred by s. 20 EA 2003.

Administrative Court, 9 October 2015

Mr Justice Supperstone, sitting at the Administrative Court, held that District Judge Ikram was wrong to refuse to admit the wage slips. Mr Wawrzyczek’s lawyer had clearly explained in his emails (which attached the evidence) to District Judge Ikram why the weekly payslips had not been adduced in evidence at the full hearing. This evidence had important influence on the result of the case.

In considering the s. 20(3) EA 2003 argument, and with respect to Mr Wawrzyczek’s payslips covering the relevant period, it was not possible to be satisfied to the criminal standard that the second summons was served on him personally on 9 November 2006, as stated in the EAW. The evidence, in fact, supported that he was not served with the second summons.

This decision with respect to the second summons impacted upon the view taken of Mr Wawrzyczek’s credibility with respect to the first summons. Further, the judicial authority had more than adequate time in which to adduce evidence in support of the fact that he was personally served with the first summons.

Accordingly, in view of the conclusions with respect to the first and second summons, Mr Justice Supperstone held that he could not be sure that Mr Wawrzyczek’s absence from the subsequent trial was deliberate. In view of the fact that he would not be entitled to a retrial if returned to Poland, Mr Wawrzyczek’s extradition was barred by section 20 EA 2003. Fenyvesi applied. Podlas considered.

Mr Justice Supperstone did not consider other grounds of appeal. Appeal allowed.

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