Polish man who said extradition would breach his human rights loses battle to stay in Blackpool
A dad who fled to Blackpool after being convicted of theft has lost a High Court appeal against extradition to his home country.
Marcin Manecki had argued the move was disproportionate and would breach his human rights, but Sir Wyn Williams, sitting in the Royal Courts of Justice in London, ruled against him.
He said: “I have reached the conclusion that this appeal must be dismissed.”
Manecki, who was convicted as a 19-year-old in February 2003, was told he would be returned to Poland to serve 10 months and 10 days in prison.
The court heard how Manecki was originally handed a suspended 12-month prison sentence, but moved to the UK in May 2004 without paying the compensation he was supposed to, or telling his probation officer.
A Polish arrest warrant was issued in September 2006, while a European arrest warrant followed in January 2009. That was sent to the National Crime Agency in April 2015, and Manecki was arrested last March.
Ben Cooper, the solicitor for Manecki, argued the judge who ordered his extradition has ‘placed too much weight on his fugitive status and failed to apply sufficient weight to the extensive unexplained delay in this case’.
The court also heard how Manecki had lived openly and lawfully in the UK, and had fathered three children with his partner. Although he had moved from Blackpool to London for a better paying job, he had kept in touch using Skype and had since moved back to the resort.
But Sir Williams ruled the right for a family life, as protected under Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, did not persuade him the District Judge who granted the extradition originally was wrong.
“The district judge expressed the view that the delay was such that it ‘might have tipped the balance against extradition’,” he added.
“However, she drew back from that conclusion because the appellant was a fugitive ‘who did not maintain contact with his probation officer and who did not notify the Polish authorities of his address’.”