A man's extradition to the UK on sexual assault charges should be refused because of the Brexit vote, a lawyer has told the High Court in Dublin today.
The case concerns a 78-year-old Irish man, who is wanted to face prosecution in the UK on 10 alleged offences including rape, attempted rape, indecent assault and indecency of a child alleged to have been committed in the Camden area of London as well as Essex on dates between 1960 and 1973.
The south Dublin man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, denies the allegations, contending that they are “scurrilous” and “totally groundless”.
He was arrested by gardaí last October on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by a Westminster Magistrates Court in September 2015 and has been on bail since that date.
At today's hearing, the man's barrister, Patrick Gageby SC, told the court that there "isn't any doubt" about the UK leaving the EU.
"Mr Cameron and Ms May have committed to exit," he said. "Both the EU and the UK have nominated able candidates to negotiate same."
Mr Gageby said that the court can give no assurance whether his client's trial would be pre- or post-Brexit.
"It cannot be assured the trial will be pre-Brexit," he said, adding that there was "a real risk it won't occur pre-Brexit".
The barrister said that the court ought to refuse the surrender of the man.
Counsel for the Minister of Justice, Ronan Kennedy BL, said that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty "has not even been invoked".
The court must exercise jurisdiction on the basis that the UK is a member of the EU, he said, adding that the UK is required to abide by EU treaties.
"The court is aware that the UK is a signatory to the EU Convention on Human Rights," Mr Kennedy told the court.
He said that it is to "enter into the realm of speculation when Article 50 hasn't even been invoked".
"What Mr Gageby refers to as a commitment by Mr Cameron and Ms May that the UK will at some time leave the EU, it is unclear when that will occur," Mr Kennedy said, before adding that it seemed "unlikely" that Article 50 will be invoked in the immediate future.
After listening to the arguments, Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said that she would reserve judgement in the case until October 14.
Submissions from the extradition hearing on July 12, 2016:
The High Court heard that the 78-year-old man grew up in south Dublin and moved to England in 1961 until the mid 1970s.
His health was described as poor and his wife recently passed away.
One of two alleged complainants first approached the authorities in England in 2005. In that year, a letter was also sent to the man in Dublin outlining certain allegations.
In an affidavit opened in court, the man stated that he was shocked and dismayed at the contents of the letter. The allegations were the first he had heard of this from any source, he stated.
He said the allegations were “scurrilous and “totally groundless”.
He said he was very disappointed on a personal level given the close relationship he had with the complainant's family for may years.
He said he never stayed overnight in the complainant's home and rarely saw the second complainant.
He moved back to Ireland in the 1970s but frequently spent Christmas in the UK as recently as 2001 and was always welcome, he stated.
Owing to the absence of time and lack of specificity, the man said he could not think of any witness to call in his defence.
It appeared from police material that there was a third suspect, Mr Gageby said, whose surname was unknown. As such, it appeared there was some other unascertained person.
Mr Gageby said the court ought not to extradite his client because it would interfere with his family and privacy rights under Article 8.