Jamaican businessman to be sent to US
published: Wednesday | October 10, 2007
Source : Jamaica Gleaner
Jamaican businessman Trevor Forbes is to be extradited to the United States to face drug -trafficking charges as a result of a United Kingdom Privy Council ruling on Monday.
Forbes, 58, of Wickie Wackie, Bull Bay in St. Andrew, is to be tried for allegedly arranging to import large quantities of marijuana into the United States (U.S.).
The U.S. authorities asked the Jamaican Government to extradite Forbes. He has been in custody since July 2003 when an extradition order was made in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.
Forbes' lawyer , Frank Phipps Q.C., argued that the Extradition Act was unconstitutional because it breached Forbes' rights under section 16 of the Constitution, of freedom of movement and immunity from expulsion. He relied on the Privy Council's decision in the Caribbean Court of Justice case to support his argument that the Extradition Act should have been passed as 'special legislation' with a two-thirds majority in both houses of Parliament since it affected his client's fundamental human rights.
Solicitor General Michael Hylton, Q.C., submitted in response, that the Extradition Act did not breach or affect Forbes' constitutional rights, since the Constitution authorised the State to pass laws to allow for the extradition of persons to face trial in other countries for crimes committed abroad. The rights were, therefore, subject to such laws.
He argued that the Extradition Act contained reasonable safeguards for the rights of accused persons.
The panel, comprising Lords Hoffman, Scott, Rodger, Walker and Mance agreed with the Solicitor General's submissions and unanimously dismissed the appeal. They took the unusual step of not reserving judgment but instead delivered judgement immediately after hearing submissions.
The judgment could affect many other Commonwealth countries which have similar constitutional provisions and extradition laws, various interested persons, including representatives of the Commonwealth Secretariat, attended the hearing.