[WATCH] Court orders second fingerprint analysis on 'most wanted' criminal

Christopher Guest More, one of Europe’s most wanted criminals has appeared in court to fight an extradition request by the UK

Christopher Guest More
Christopher Guest More
The court has ordered a second fingerprint analysis on 'most wanted' criminal

A man who was one of Europe’s most wanted criminals has appeared in court to fight an extradition request by the UK, where he is wanted for several serious crimes, including a brutal murder.

Christopher Guest More was on Europe’s most wanted list for his part in the savage murder of a man who was tortured to death in front of his children. He was arrested in Malta and arraigned in court on Saturday after a joint operation between  Maltese and British police.

Guest More is wanted by Cheshire police for the murder of 44-year-old Brian Waters in June 2003. Three other men: John Wilson, 69, James Raven, 60, and Otis Matthews, 41 - are all serving life sentences for the murder.

Amidst tight security provided by heavily armed prison guards, the accused, head no longer shaven, appeared in the dock before magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech on Monday afternoon. Guest More sat with head lowered for most of the proceedings. Representatives from the British police were also present.

Guest More’s European arrest warrant lists 14 separate charges for which the man is wanted by the British authorities, including murder, manslaughter grievous bodily harm and false imprisonment. Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi raised a technical issue, pointing out that the mention of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice was only mentioned in the part of the document relating to the punishment but not in the EAW proper.

The defence acknowledged that the offences for which the return is sought are in fact extraditable offences. The court said it would also determine this issue in its final decision in which it will rule on “extraditability and bars to extradition.”

Azzopardi said his client reserved the right to plead prescription should he be returned to the UK. Lawyer George Camilleri from the office of the Attorney General informed the court that the case was not time-barred under Maltese law, which would have also been a bar to extradition.

During Monday’s sitting, in which Guest More reiterated his objection to being extradited, it emerged that fingerprint matches with British records were the basis of the man’s identification.

Police Inspector Mark Galea exhibited a report in which it is explained that the UK fingerprints were obtained from the accused in connection with a previous criminal offence.

But magistrate Frendo Dimech pointed out that the man’s identity had only been established on the basis of probability by the arraigning magistrate. She ordered a Maltese expert to take fingerprint samples and conduct a comparative analysis all over again “ex abundanti cautela” (with great caution).

“The initial hearing is [only] to see if the case can continue,” explained the magistrate.

As the defence was still insisting that the man in the dock wasn’t the requested person, the court said it would be wise to remove all doubt.

The court adjourned the hearing until Friday 14th June for the presentation of the fingerprint expert’s report. The final decision is expected to be handed down towards the end of June.

Magistrate Frendo Dimech told the man in the dock that she felt duty bound to explain to him that if he wished to waive extradition proceedings, he was free to do so at any time. The court would consider such a submission and proceed accordingly, said the magistrate.

Guest More is alleged to have taken part in the torture and beating of Waters to death in front of his two adult children, who were forced to watch the murder at gunpoint. The crime is alleged to have been motivated by a dispute over drug money.

More is also wanted for the attempted murder of a second man and for the false imprisonment and assault of the other victims present during the incident.

He was arrested in Malta after a covert surveillance operation spanning several days, involving Maltese and British police.

The arrested person claimed his name was Andrew Christopher Lamb and contested the extradition order on the basis that he is not the person mentioned in it.

Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi is defence counsel.

Lawyer George Camilleri appeared on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General

Inspector Mark Galea prosecuted.

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