Lorry driver wanted over deaths of 39 migrants is granted permission to appeal extradition

Lorry driver, 23, who is wanted over deaths of 39 migrants in refrigerated truck in Essex is granted permission by High Court in Dublin to appeal against extradition to the UK

  • 39 bodies were found in a refrigerated shipping container in Essex last year 
  • Eamonn Harrison, from Northern Ireland, appeared at Dublin’s High Court today 
  • A judge granted Harrison permission to appeal his extradition to Britain 

|

A lorry driver wanted in connection with the discovery of 39 bodies in a refrigerated shipping container in Essex has been granted permission to appeal against his extradition to the UK.

Ten teenagers, including two 15-year-old boys, were among eight women and 31 males, all Vietnamese nationals, whose bodies were discovered in the trailer in an industrial park in Grays in the early hours of October 23

Eamonn Harrison, from Mayobridge, Northern Ireland, appeared in Dublin’s High Court in connection with the deaths last Tuesday and was awaiting extradition to the UK.

He faces 39 charges of manslaughter and charges for conspiracy to traffic people and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

A judge today granted Harrison, 23, permission to appeal his extradition to Britain.

Eamonn Harrison, from Mayobridge, Northern Ireland , appeared in Dublin’s High Court in connection with the deaths last Tuesday and was awaiting extradition to the UK 

The judge ruled concerns raised by Harrison in relation to the European Arrest Warrant issued by UK authorities justify examination by a higher court.

Mr Justice Donald Binchy said it is in the public interest to explore the issues, noting that they transcend the facts of Harrison’s case and could have ramifications for other extradition proceedings.

Harrison is wanted for his alleged role in transporting the trailer in which the bodies of eight women and 31 men, all Vietnamese nationals, were found on an industrial park in Grays in the early hours of October 23 last year.

The 23-year-old, who was arrested at Dublin Port days after the discovery in England, is alleged to have driven the container to the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium and later signed the shipping notice for it.

The Crown Prosecution Service is seeking to prosecute Harrison for 41 offences – 39 counts of manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, one human trafficking offence, and one count of assisting unlawful immigration.

Lorry driver wanted over deaths of 39 migrants is granted permission to appeal extradition

Ten teenagers, including two 15-year-old boys, were among 39 Vietnamese nationals whose bodies were discovered in the lorry trailer in the early hours of October 23 

Harrison’s lawyers claimed there were ‘manifest errors’ in the original warrant.

They contend that when additional information was sought from UK authorities, it was provided by the CPS, when it should have been issued by a judicial authority – namely a judge in Essex.

Judge Binchy said there is a need to explore the points raised in a higher court.

He formally made an order granting Harrison’s extradition to the UK, but placed a stay on the execution of that order pending the outcome of the Court of Appeal proceedings.

He said: ‘I formally place a stay on the execution of the order pending the appeal.’

Harrison, who is represented in court by senior counsel Siobhan Stack and junior counsel Tony McGillicuddy, has 14 days to lodge his appeal with the Court of Appeal.

Dressed in a purple jumper and jeans, he gave a thumbs up to solicitor Paul Tiernan after the ruling was delivered on Wednesday morning.

He was further remanded in custody pending the appeal. 

It comes as Essex Police said a team of 12 officers and staff will be in Vietnam until the end of the month meeting relatives as they look into the alleged human trafficking plot.

Staff from the National Crime Agency and officers from Vietnam’s ministry of public security are assisting with the investigation.

On Tuesday it was revealed the provisional cause of death for those in the lorry was a combination of suffocation and overheating in an enclosed space, Essex Police said.  

You may also like...