Irishman to be extradited in child sex abuse probe
Published 29/07/2008 | 00:00
AN IRISHMAN is facing extradition from the Czech Republic to Britain where he is wanted in connection with a series of alleged child sex abuse offences.
Patrick Burnell (21) is facing 16 charges, including the alleged rape of girls as young as 12 and 13. He is also charged with the possession and distribution of pornographic material between 2003 and 2006, Prague City Court heard.
Burnell is alleged to have contacted his victims via internet websites. It is claimed that after meeting them, he lured them into his car where he allegedly raped them.
"I have done nothing you have accused me of. But I would like to go back to Britain to prove my innocence," Burnell told the Czech court.
Following the ruling, it is expected that he will be extradited to Britain within days.
Burnell, who holds both British and Irish passports, had been in the Czech Republic for two years but was tracked down on July 15, just three weeks after the British authorities issued a European Arrest Warrant.
Police said he had led a very secret life in Prague, rarely leaving the apartment he had rented but Interpol tracked him down.
Czech police also said that Burnell had not committed any offences in the Czech Republic. He is facing a life sentence in the UK if convicted of the charges.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said his office was aware of the case and support was being provided for Burnell, his girlfriend and his family through the Irish consulate in Prague.
In the report of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Hamilton said that the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was "proving to be a very effective instrument in securing the return of accused persons".
He added that to work effectively as it has done to date was dependant on EU members states continuing to trust each others legal systems and accepting and recognising the decisions of each others courts.
Since the introduction of the EAW in 2004, 144 have been issued by Irish courts. Of those, 130 were transmitted to the UK, six to Spain, three to the Netherlands and one each to Belgium, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Portugal. A total of 93 of the 144 requested persons were Irish nationals, 34 were British and two were from Lithuania.