Eamonn Harrison appeared before Dublin’s Central Criminal Court on Thursday 21 November to begin the hearing regarding the UK’s request for his extradition. Mr Harrison faces 41 charges in the UK, 39 counts of manslaughter, one court of human trafficking and one count of assisting unlawful immigration.
Mr Harrison, 22, from County Down is alleged to have driven the lorry which delivered a container to the Belgian Port of Zeebrugge and in which the bodies of 39 migrants were subsequently discovered on 23 October 2019 in Essex.
Counsel for Mr Harrison, Ms Siobhán Stack SC, raised a number of concerns about the EAW under which Mr Harrison is sought to be extradited. The warrant, according to Ms Stack SC, fails to detail the location(s) where the alleged offending is to have taken place. Further, the warrant fails to detail the degree to which Mr Harrison was knowingly involved in the alleged trafficking. She said the warrant had been rushed and that due to its flaws the court “could not make an order of surrender” based on the warrant in its current form.
Further issues raised regarding the warrant included the misidentification of Harrison as a British citizen, whereas he was travelling on an Irish passport and is an Irish citizen, a failure to consider extraterritoriality and what offending may have taken place in Belgium and a failure to identify in relation to the manslaughter charges, when and where the victims died.
Judge Binchy has allowed both parties extra time to gather further information. Judge Binchy indicated that it is his goal to deal with all UK extradition requests before the end of the current judicial term due to the uncertainty of Brexit. Mr Harrison’s next hearing date is set for 12 December and is scheduled to last one day.