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Man to be extradited over Romanian car crash deaths

By Alan Erwin

Published 02/10/2015

Judges rejected claims Tomse's human rights would be breached.
Judges rejected claims Tomse's human rights would be breached.

A man wanted in his native Romania to serve a prison sentence for the deaths of two people in a road crash has lost his legal bid to remain in Northern Ireland.

Senior judges in Belfast dismissed Claudiu Tomse's appeal against an order for his extradition back to the Balkan country.

They rejected claims that the return would see him denied proper medical treatment for injuries he sustained in the accident.

Further submissions that Tomse's human rights will be violated by being put into an overcrowded jail and apart from his family were also thrown out.

In 2014 the 33-year-old has been ordered to serve a sentence of three years and nine months in prison for vehicular manslaughter and aggravated theft.

No details of the offences, which occurred in 2012 and involved the deaths of two people, were disclosed in court.

Tomse was convicted in his absence having already left Romania by that stage.

He was detained in the Belfast area later last year under the terms of an European Arrest Warrant.

A panel of High Court judges were asked to rule today on his appeal against a decision that he should be returned to Romania.

They heard that Tomse underwent a splenectomy to remove his spleen following the road accident.

His barrister Richard McConkey, instructed by solicitor Joran Doran, argued that he had not received vital antibiotics from the Romanian authorities.

It was contended that this breached Tomse's entitlement to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Concerns were expressed about the potential health implications of having the wanted man returned to overcrowded prison conditions.

Tomse's legal team also claimed his extradition would be contrary to his partner and child's right to family life.

However, Lord Justice Gillen, Lord Justice Weatherup and Mr Justice Colton dismissed all grounds of challenge.

They pointed to correspondence from the Romanian authorities which pledged that any prisoner will be assured medication if prescribed or recommended by specialist doctors.

Lord Justice Gillen added that overcrowding levels of around 9-10% was not enough to suggest an inmate on antibiotics would have his human rights breached.

He also said there was nothing to stop Tomse's partner, a herself Romanian national who gave birth to their child in Northern Ireland, from returning to their native country while he serves his jail sentence.

"There are no cultural or language barriers which would make settling in Romania difficult for the appellant's partner or child," the judge added.

"Confinement in prison is always a burden on spouses and children - this case is no different."

Backing the decision to order Tomse's extradition, Lord Justice Gillen confirmed: "We have concluded there's no reason to believe that Romania, as members of the Council of Europe, is not able and willing to fulfil its obligations under the Convention." ends    

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