A Polish national, extradited from Ireland to serve two prison sentences in his home country, refused to board a plane at Dublin Airport on Thursday, because of “a fear of flying”, the High Court was told today.
Detective Sergeant Jim Kirwan told Mr Justice Richard Humphreys that, when brought to the boarding gate by gardaí, Piotr Skiba refused to get on the plane and expressed a fear of flying.
Mr Skiba has been sentenced to terms of imprisonment of nine months and 18 months for burglaries in Poland
Barrister Mark Lynam, counsel for Mr Skiba, told the court that Mr Skiba’s solicitor had, on December 9, pre-warned the State Solicitor of his fear of flying.
Det Sgt Kirwan said it was December 12 when he had received any indication of Mr Skiba’s fear of flying, and that he was sceptical, because this dread had been introduced at such a late stage.
Det Sgt Kirwan said that once an extradition order was made by a court, the authorities had 10 days in which to deliver up the subject of the request and that that time would now expire on Christmas Day.
Kathleen Leader, counsel for the State, told the court that unless it granted the State a 10-day extension, during which to carry out the extradition, the authorities would have to release Mr Skiba from detention.
Det Sgt Kirwan said that if the State had to extradite Mr Skiba by sea and land, the garda authorities would have to notify the security services of every country Mr Skiba would have to cross. Approval would have to be sought in each country.
Mr Lynam told the court that Mr Skiba, who is married with four children in Ireland, had not been asked for medical evidence to demonstrate that he had a fear of flying.
He had not been asked if he had such a fear until he was taken to the airport.
Det Sgt Kirwan said Mr Skiba was “not a happy man” when asked to accompany gardaí onto the plane.
Judge Humphreys granted the State Solicitor an extension of time for the extradition, which would extend until January 5.
Judge Humphreys directed that Skiba be detained at Mountjoy Prison.
Ms Leader told the court that any time Mr Skiba would spend in prison would be credited to him when serving his sentences in Poland.
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