Jack Warner’s extradition case on hold until December

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Jack Warner –

EXTRADITION proceedings against former FIFA vice president Austin Jack Warner remain on hold until the High Court rules on a new constitutional challenge he raised last year, some eight years after he was indicted in the US on 29 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering while he was vice president of football’s world governing body.

At a status hearing, acting Chief Magistrate Christine Charles was told on March 1 documents were filed on Thursday and attorneys agreed to have the extradition matter adjourned to December to allow the High Court to hear and decide on the application.

In March 2023, Warner, whom FIFA banned for life, raised a “speciality argument” under section 14(4) of the Constitution, complaining there were inconsistencies relating to the charges he faces in the US.

The seven questions raised were referred to the High Court by former chief magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle, who ruled they were “legally grounded and had merit.”

Warner’s argument relates to the arrangement between the US and Trinidad and Tobago for extradition and the speciality principle, which, by law, provides that a person who is extradited can be prosecuted or sentenced in the requesting state only for the offences for which extradition was granted, and not for any other crime allegedly committed before the extradition took place.

At Friday’s hearing, Charles was told of the latest development. She has adjourned the extradition matter to December 6.

Warner’s application to have the chief magistrate refer his questions to the High Court was made soon after the Privy Council ruled on a previous challenge he had raised.

On November 17, 2022, the apex court paved the way for continuing the proceedings to extradite Warner to the US to face the fraud-related charges.

The London court held that the US’s request for Warner’s extradition was not unfair. He had challenged the process against him and sought to quash the authority given to the magistrate to proceed with his extradition hearing. The US requested his extradition on July 24, 2015, two months after a provision warrant was issued for his arrest. He surrendered to the police and asked for disclosure of material relevant to the ATP. This was refused.

After the 2015 general election, then AG Faris Al-Rawi allowed Warner to make representations as to whether the ATP should be issued on the condition he would agree to extend the time for the issuance of the authority to proceed. Warner refused. The time was eventually extended by the magistrate.

Since then, the extradition proceedings in the local court remained stalled, with no evidence being led.

In February, in a radio interview, Warner was confident the case against him in the US was over because of a ruling by that country’s Supreme Court in January.

In that ruling, the court held that US prosecutors overreached their boundaries when they applied laws of the US to groups of people, many of them foreign nationals, who allegedly defrauded FIFA, another foreign organisation, with its headquarters in Switzerland.

The New York Times reported on January 27 that the Supreme Court last year limited a law that was key to the FIFA case. Last September, a federal judge, citing that law, threw out the convictions of two defendants linked to football corruption.

Warner has since filed legal action to determine how much in fees had been dispensed to attorneys up to the date of the request to have him extradited.

Warner is represented by Fyard Hosein, SC, Rishi Dass, SC, Sasha Bridgemohansingh, Anil Maraj and Aadam Hosein.

Appearing for ASP Carlton Alleyne, for the US, are James Lewis, KC, Ravi Rajcoomar, SC, Pamela Elder, SC, Netram Kowlessar and Ryan Rajcoomar.