Courts

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Irish fugitive (35) to be extradited to the UK despite threat to self harm

Stephen James O’Reilly is wanted to finish serving a sentence for dangerous driving causing death

Published 02/07/2014 | 15:11

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The High Court ruled today that, despite a threat to self harm, Stephen James O’Reilly of Upper Churchtown Road should be surrendered in accordance with a request by British authorities.

A 35-year-old Dublin ‘fugitive’ is to be extradited to the UK, where he is wanted to finish serving a sentence for dangerous driving causing death.

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The High Court ruled today that, despite a threat to self harm, Stephen James O’Reilly of Upper Churchtown Road should be surrendered in accordance with a request by British authorities.

The court previously heard that O’Reilly had been arrested on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by the UK, where he had been convicted of dangerous driving causing death.

He had received a nine-year sentence in 2008, but was later released on licence. That licence had been revoked and he was wanted in the UK to serve the balance of the sentence, which is 229 weeks and six days.

He became emotional on his first appearance before the court in November, telling the judge: “I can’t go back, your honour.”

There had been a concern on that occasion that he might harm himself.

Mr Justice John Edwards noted yesterday that O’Reilly had an adjustment disorder related to the extradition.

He also noted the views of a doctor that O’Reilly had a background risk factor for suicide and that the risk would be exacerbated if returned to the UK.

The judge noted his history of self harm dating back to the age of 15, with the most recent episode being in the building where they now sat, and O’Reilly’s assertion that he intended to act on his thoughts of self harm if extradited.

He noted that O’Reilly also has generalised anxiety order, borderline intellectual disability, symptoms of ADHD and a history of polysubstance abuse.

However the judge said that there was a substantial public interest in his rendition.

“Mr O’Reilly was released early on a regime of conditions, breached those conditions and left that state as a fugitive,” he said. “Fugitives from justice should be recovered.”

Considering his fragile mental health, he said the court had to assume that the UK authorities would look after him. He said his medial records should be transferred with him to the UK.

He made the order surrendering him, but postponed his surrender until September 30 2016, when he will have finished serving an unrelated sentence here.

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