Convicted killer walks free after warrant seeking his surrender to the Netherlands is found to be invalid

A convicted killer has been released from custody after a warrant seeking his extradition to the Netherlands was found to be invalid by the High Court in Dublin.

Convicted killer walks free after warrant seeking his surrender to the Netherlands is found to be invalid

A convicted killer has been released from custody after a warrant seeking his extradition to the Netherlands was found to be invalid by the High Court in Dublin.

Barry McArdle (aged 33) from Drimnagh was originally sentenced to two years imprisonment for disposing of the body of Dublin man Keith Ennis (aged 29), following a trial in the Netherlands, in 2017.

As McArdle had effectively served all of that sentence while on remand at various times, he was immediately released and returned to Ireland.

In the same trial, McArdle had been acquitted of stabbing Mr Ennis in Rotterdam in 2009. However, Dutch authorities successfully appealed McArdle’s acquittal on the charge of manslaughter and he was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment in his absence by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal on May 17, 2018.

A European Arrest Warrant - now deemed to be invalid - was issued in respect of McArdle in January of this year.

He was arrested on foot of the warrant on May 3 and remanded in custody. He was refused bail by the High Court in May and the Court of Appeal upheld that refusal last month

However, the High Court refused to surrender McArdle on the basis that the warrant was invalid today and he was immediately released from custody. The court heard that the warrant had been issued by the Dutch Public Prosecutor, which is not a sufficiently independent authority, in accordance with EU law.

Ruling that the warrant was invalid, Ms Justice Tara Burns said it had been issued by a person that was not recognised as an issuing judicial authority, in accordance with EU law.

She said the court had received an opinion from an eminent lawyer and former judge in the Netherlands, submitted by McArdle’s representatives, which set out that the position.

In light of the opinion and the “very fair attitude” taken by lawyers for the Minister for Justice, who did not seek an adjournment to get their own opinion, Ms Justice Burns said she would refuse surrender and direct McArdle’s release from custody forthwith.

McArdle then walked free from court.

Last month, the Court of Appeal in Dublin determined that the High Court was right to refuse bail to McArdle, while the warrant remained valid.

Giving judgment in the three-judge court, Mr Justice John Edwards said McArdle was a convicted person who did not enjoy the presumption of innocence, although an appeal in respect of the overturned acquittal was pending before the Dutch Supreme Court.

Upon learning that the warrant - now deemed to be invalid - was in existence, Mr Justice Edwards said McArdle “went to ground”.

The evidence was that McArdle moved between addresses in Dublin and Galway and did not sign on or collect his social welfare in this period, the judge said.

He said there had been difficulty in locating McArdle, and even when he was located, his “demeanour upon being discovered communicated clearly his unhappiness at having been discovered and at having to face the proceedings consequent upon this warrant” - which has now been found to be invalid.

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