Court to rule on extradition of fugitive wanted for UK murder

Constitutional Court will at the end of March be deciding on whether to extradite British fugitive Christopher Guest More to be tried in the UK for murder

Christopher Guest More
Christopher Guest More

The Constitutional Court has heard closing arguments on whether or not to extradite the British fugitive Christopher Guest More to be tried in the UK for murder.

Guest More, who is wanted by the UK authorities for the murder of cannabis farm owner Brian Waters in June 2003, is facing a possible life sentence for his part in the murder. Three other men John Wilson, 69, James Raven, 60, and Otis Matthews, 41 - are all serving life sentences for the murder.

Brian Waters had been tortured and beaten to death in front of his two adult children, who were forced to watch the murder at gunpoint. Together with the other men, More is accused of launching the attack at the remote property in order to demand money.

Guest More had been on Europe’s most wanted list since the murder.

He was arrested in Malta in 2019, where he was found to be using an alias, following a joint operation with British police.

One of the fugitive’s lawyers, Rene Darmanin, this morning told Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi, Mr. Justice Giannino Caruna Demajo and Mr. Justice Anthony Ellul, presiding the Constitutional Court that if the Briton is extradited he will be held at HMP Manchester. Darmanin made reference to reports by the House of Commons and other UK bodies which described the prison as being “Dickensian” and “squalid” in 2017.

In a 2018 the UK’s Chief Inspector of Prisons had concluded that the incidents of violence, use of force and self-harm had increased at HMP Manchester. In 2019, the AG provided a statement by the UK’s Director General of Prisons which had stated that the situation was within acceptable boundaries.

However the independent reports said there had been “little or no meaningful progress, no review of shortcomings and no confidence that there would be significant improvement,” the lawyer said.

Darmanin argued that Guest More had provided verified information, contrasting this with “just two declarations” exhibited by the AG, one of which was by the prison itself.

In the circumstances, argued the lawyer, holding the man at the prison in question would be tantamount to inhuman and degrading treatment. He asked for the annulment of the decisions by the Court of Magistrates and the Court of Criminal Appeal in Malta, both of which had approved the extradition.

In her closing arguments, State Advocate Victoria Buttigieg said that she had produced evidence that HMP Manchester was up to standard and not in violation of the applicable laws. “We are dealing with an EAW and there is mutual trust between member states,” she said. The UK left the EU earlier this year.

The other party was relying on data which was “generic” said Buttigieg, adding that the documentation given to the Maltese authorities explained how the UK prisons were in compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The court put the case off for a final decision on March 27.

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