This week the Irish Supreme Court rejected the appeal of Mr Gary Davis who sought to prevent his extradition to the US to face a trial on charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, conspiracy to commit computer hacking and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The US alleges that Mr Davis was an administrator on the Dark Web drug website, Silk Road. If he is convicted in the US, he could receive a sentence of life imprisonment.
Mr Davis appealed to the Irish Supreme Court and urged the judges to refuse the request to extradite him on grounds including that he suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome.
Yesterday the Supreme Court rejected his appeal, the five judges explained that they were satisfied that Mr Davis had not established that there was a real risk that his fundamental rights would be infringed if extradited to the US.
The Irish Supreme Court had been asked to consider questions of general public importance. These included:
1. In the context of an extradition hearing, is the State constitutionally obliged to protect vulnerable persons suffering from mental illness and in what circumstances under that duty, should an extradition request be refused?
2. Is Mr Davis’s Asperger’s syndrome so severe that he should not be extradited to the US on the basis that he would suffer mental harm as a result of being imprisoned and having very little contact with his family?
The Irish Supreme Court concluded that there is a constitutional obligation on the State to protect all persons in the context of an extradition application, and not just those suffering from mental illnesses. However, it is for the person whose extradition is sought to establish that there are substantive grounds for believing that if extradited there is a real risk of being subjected to degrading behaviour in breach of Article 3 ECHR. Having reviewed all the evidence, the Supreme Court found that Mr Davis had not demonstrated such a risk. Additionally, the court added that this case was to be distinguished from the UK Supreme Court decision in the Lauri Love case because in Mr Love’s case the evidence of his Asperger’ Syndrome was much stronger regarding the effect on his mental health and the risk of suicide if extradited. The Irish Supreme Court contrasted this to Mr Davis’s case where there had been an absence of evidence that Mr Davis had undergone treatment or counselling for depression or anxiety. He had also not seen a specialist for therapy for his Asperger’s Syndrome.
After handing down their decision, the Irish Supreme Court granted Mr Davis’ lawyers a 48-hour stay on his surrender to allow his lawyers advise him on the judgement and to consider a possible referral of the case to the European Court of Human Rights.