Maltese shipper's extradition blocked over defective documents

The court pointed to the fact that the extradition request made by the Italian authorities was riddled with errors and ordered the man released

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

A court has rejected an extradition request made by the Italian authorities in respect of a Maltese man, after finding the request to be riddled with errors.

Paul Attard, who works in the shipping industry was wanted in Italy over an alleged involvement in illegal trafficking activities. He was arrested on May 2, 2019 under a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Giudice per gli Indagini Preliminari.

The man’s lawyer raised the plea that the EAW lacked the formalities laid down by law under an EU Council Framework Decision of 2002.

In her decision on the matter, Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech observed that the Italian authorities had not abided by EU law as well as Italy’s own laws. Attard “had been right to complain about the light-handed manner whereby the Italians had made their request to the Maltese State,” remarked the court.

The magistrate also pointed out that there had been discrepancies as to the place where the alleged criminal activity took place. Whilst the Schengen Information System Alert about Attard had said the crimes took place in “Catania and International Waters,” the EAW indicated “various States, including Malta, Algeria and Egypt.”

The original EAW had also cited legal provisions relating to homicide by mistake, the Court observed. A subsequent version simply had the page citing the wrong articles of the law replaced and there was doubt as to whether the issuing court had seen this, as the original date and stamp of the warrant were retained.

In the light of the formal defects in the documentation, despite the Italian authorities having been given two occasions to rectify the problem, the court said it could not take further cognizance of the extradition request, ordering Attard to be immediately released.Itlai