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High Court orders the surrender of the respondent to Italy, on the grounds that that the respondent ‘unequivocally’ made an informed decision not to be present at his trial or at the appeal, and his defence rights were protected.
European Arrest Warrant - Italy sought the surrender of the Respondent - to enforce 1 year and 10 months imprisonment imposed in 2016 - 10 months and 19 days remained to be served – offences correspond to offences of possession of an article with intent to commit a robbery and possession of certain articles - Respondent objects to surrender on the basis of section 45 of the Act of 2003 – says that he was not present during the initial trial or at the appeal - the appeal is the judicial decision upon which the warrant is based - a request for additional information was made - in accordance the law of the issuing State Respondent was obliged to inform the relevant authorities about any change of address – Respondent asked whether or not he wanted to nominate a lawyer to represent him and when he indicated he did not, a public defender was appointed - Court rejected the Respondent’s averment that he knew nothing about the lawyer who had been appointed to represent him and that he did not nominate the address of her law firm for notification purposes – Defence Counsel appeared for the Respondent at the trial that resulted in his conviction - his Counsel appealed that decision and the sentence was reduced to 1 year 10 months imprisonment - Respondent did not appear in person at either the trial or the appeal – Court found that notification of the relevant dates had clearly been served on his legal Counsel and found it highly unlikely he was not told what those dates were - Respondent says that his Counsel acted without any instructions from him – Court found it highly unlikely that Counsel carried out professional duties without any instructions from the Respondent - Counsel was acting on instructions when she applied for house arrest as an alternative to incarceration –Respondent nominated his lawyer’s address for receipt of notification about the offences - not credible – found that Respondent was fully aware that he had been charged and that a criminal prosecution was being pursued - highly likely that the Respondent did receive information of the scheduled date and place of the trial which resulted in the decision in accordance with Part D. of the warrant - Court must take a step back and satisfy itself that the defence rights of the Respondent have not been breached and will not be breached – Court found that Respondent unequivocally made an informed decision not to be present at the trial or the appeal - his defence rights were protected - surrender of the Respondent allowed as it is not precluded by reason of Part 3 of the Act of 2003 or another provision of that Act.
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