Leroy King gets temporary relief from extradition

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Justice Iain Morley, Q.C., ruled in an emergency hearing in the High Court yesterday that the extradition of former head of the Financial Services Regulatory Commission, Leroy King be halted until he gets the opportunity to appeal to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court to determine whether he could make a further appeal to the Privy Council.
King was arrested early yesterday, reportedly, in preparation for immediate extradition to the U.S. to face charges in relation to the Allen Stanford Ponzi Scheme.
The former FSRC boss is facing 11 wire and mail fraud charges for allegedly facilitating the US $7 billion Ponzi Scheme that was orchestrated by Stanford who was found guilty and jailed for 110 years in the U.S.
Last week, in St. Kitts, the ECSC Court of Appeal dismissed what was then King’s latest appeal to avoid extradition.
King’s attorney, Dr. David Dorsett, in response to his client’s detention yesterday morning, hastily filed an appeal against last week’s decision of the appellate court and further applied to the High Court for a habeas corpus or release of his client who was in the custody of the police.
The lawyer contended that from the time of the St. Kitts ruling on September 10, King has 21 days, until early October, to make a further appeal and during that period, he ought not to be extradited.
“The law is very clear, Section 15 (8) makes it very clear that once judicial review proceedings are pending, that there can be no extradition at all and judicial review proceedings are pending once the appeal period had not been exhausted, an appeal is pending,” he argued.
He said once he learned that King had been taken into custody, without any prior notice to him as his lawyer, and that “Mr. King was about to be hustled on to a plane to leave the country we had to move right away and we have filed our application for leave to appeal 12 days early and if that appeal is in process any detention and extradition would be completely illegal so we also filed the habeas corpus application.”
Dr. Dorsett said he was not given details as to which flight King would have been departing on, or when, and who would have been escorting him but he said the move demonstrated that the authorities “pulled the trigger too soon”.
At the hearing though, justice Morley upbraided Dr. Dorsett, stating that from the time judgement was passed in St. Kitts, the accused King stood the risk of being arrested at any time by the police and be extradited. He questioned why it took the attorney so long, until his client was arrested, to file a further appeal.
Dr. Dorsett said that he was unable to access his internet and he was forced to respond after he received an urgent phone call earlier in the day that informed him that his client had been arrested.
Director of Public Prosecution, Anthony Armstrong, argued that an appeal on behalf of King had already been turned down and there is every likelihood that an appeal to the Privy Council would meet with the same fate.
The DPP further contended that an appeal does not provide enough reason for a stay of execution.
Justice Morley noted that King’s appeal is expected to be heard in the Appeal Court on November 26.
In making his ruling, the High Court judge said that while he agreed with the DPP that the appeal could be dismissed by the Privy Council, King had every right to explore all available avenues of litigation.
The judge ordered Dr. Dorsett to submit arguments, outlining reasons for the appeal by 5 p.m.  on November 5 to which the office of the Attorney General should respond by November 22.
On the issue of who should pay cost for the emergency sitting of the court, Justice Morley said that because of the short time available to the defence in bringing the matter to court, he would not demand that the cost be borne by the defence.
He ordered that the current bail conditions be continued. King is out on $110,000 bail with two sureties. He has to report to the St. John’s Police Station three times per week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
A warrant to deliver King to the U.S. for trial was signed several years ago but, he remains in Antigua after filing multiple challenges to his extradition and each time he lost, he filed a new one. (With additional reporting by Martina Johnson)

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