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The campaign to attract every wrong’un on the planet to Britain claims another win.

Shawn Sullivan is an American citizen and “one of America’s most wanted paedophiles”. While accused of raping a 14 year-old girl and sexually molesting two 11 year-olds in Minnesota, he did a runner to Ireland where he gained a conviction for assaulting two girls. Eventually he ended up in – where else? – London, which clearly had the Americans thinking they’d got their man. An extradition request was made, approved, appealed by Sullivan, the appeal was dismissed by the Home Office, and Sullivan appealed to the High Court.

But Sullivan took his case to the High Court earlier this year, with his lawyers claiming that if he were convicted in the US, he faced being put under a “civil commitment” order at the end of his jail term that effectively meant he would be deemed “sexually dangerous” and never released.


In a judgment published last week, the High Court judges said there was a real risk he would be put on the programme, and that it would breach his right not to suffer loss of liberty without due process as protected by the European Court of Human Rights. […] In a note released on Thursday, Lord Justice Moses announced that “the United States will not provide an assurance” and so the appeal under the 2003 Extradition Act was allowed.

Great. So for the purposes of extradition, the US must now conform to the demands of the ECHR. Looking at 5.1 of the Convention (cited by the High Court): nope, me neither. It seems the High Court has simply decided that unless the feds do it Strasbourg’s way then they won’t do it at all.

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  1. First of all, if British or EU law doesn’t allow extradition under those circumstances, then the judge has little option but to grant the appeal.
    There were also a few computer hackers spared extradiction on similar grounds. Can’t have your cake, Pete.

    But it’s weird that each case needs to be tested in the high court; you’d think this and similar matters would have long since been regulated between countries like the US and UK, with such a high number of people moving back and forth between the two.
    Also, the UK has its own sex offenders list. It doesn’t say how this “commitment” thing in the US more deprives a person of liberty than being listed on as a SO in the UK. Do they brand his forehead?

    Another thing: isn’t it terrible that so many of these bastards seem to have Irish names?

    Lastly, it is funny that this jerk married a Ministry of Justice “policy manager” while he was being held on remard.

  2. Extradition involves such fundamnetal rights (even of the unsavory) that I think it is fittiing that it may to a High Court. There are issues with civil commitment that can cause this type of problem, though I would hope his sentences would render civil commitment unnecessary.

  3. Noel Cunningham –

    It’s not about English law or EU ‘law’. It’s about the High Court interpreting a human rights treaty in a novel way.

    I’m not aware of computer hackers who have been spared extradition. Gary McKinnon is still fighting extradition.

  4. Noel

    ‘Also, the UK has its own sex offenders list. It doesn’t say how this “commitment” thing in the US more deprives a person of liberty than being listed on as a SO in the UK. Do they brand his forehead?’

    They lock him up, which is kind of relevant as due process is supposed to precede that. Though if that is what goes on in the US then I am surprised if nobody has challenged the constitutionality of it under their own laws.

    Of course big government types have no problem sweeping aside due process when they think those powers will only be used against those they don’t like. For some the administrator password for the constitution is terrorism, for others it is paedophile.

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