Irish Supreme Court- Gary Davis, alleged Silk Road administrator, will be extradited to the US

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.

 

US withdraws extradition request for Lauri Love

The US has withdrawn its request that the UK extradite Lauri Love, who is charged by the US with hacking into several government agencies and stealing large amounts of data in 2012 and 2013. However, the US agreed with the UK High Court’s recent finding that extradition would be oppressive to Mr Love’s mental and physical health (see previous blog).

Mr Love still faces prosecution in the UK, but with a substantially lower sentence if found guilty.

UK court upholds Lauri Love’s appeal against extradition to the US

The UK High Court has upheld Lauri Love’s appeal against his extradition to the United States, in Love v United States [2018] EWHC 172 (Admin). Mr Love is accused by the US of conducting a series of cyber-attacks against private companies and US government agencies, including NASA, the Department of Defence, and the Federal Reserve.

In its judgment, the Court accepted both of Love’s key arguments. First, it agreed that the high threshold for barring extradition on the grounds that it would be oppressive were met in Mr Love’s case. It noted he would be at high risk of suicide if extradited, and that putting him on suicide watch was itself “likely to have a seriously adverse effect on his very vulnerable and unstable mental and physical wellbeing”.

Second, the Court also agreed that Mr Love’s case met the threshold for the forum bar, which prevents extradition when it would not be in the interests of justice. It said that the combination of several factors persuaded it that the forum bar applied, namely the prospect that Mr Love would be unfit to plead, the extent to which his well-being was bound up with the presence of his parents, and the fact the prosecutor provided no view on whether the UK was the most appropriate jurisdiction.

In respect of the third factor, the prosecutor is given two opportunities under s. 83 Extradition Act 2003 to express a view and the Court found that the absence of any view weighs in favour of the forum bar applying. However, it emphasised that, where the forum bar does operate to prevent extradition, prosecution in the UK should follow as a natural consequence.

The Court did not consider Articles 3 & 8 ECHR, having upheld Mr Love’s appeal on the aforementioned grounds.

UK MPs call on government to resist US calls for extradition of Lauri Love

UK MPs have called on the government to resist US calls for the extradition of British hacking suspect Lauri Love, who faces a maximum of 99 years imprisonment if convicted in the US. Mr Love is accused by the US of engaging in cyberattacks against government websites, such as the Federal Reserve and US army, and stealing sensitive military data and the details of over 100,000 government employees.

The MPs said that Mr Love, who has Asperger syndrome, should be tried in the UK where he will likely face only a few months’ imprisonment. His lawyers have argued that the US prison system is incapable of meeting his mental and physical health needs, and there would be a high risk of him attempting suicide in the circumstances.

The High Court is due to hear Mr Love’s appeal against his extradition next week.