Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Tappin waits to hear bail decision

Christopher Tappin was extradited to the United States

A retired British businessman extradited to the United States over arms dealing charges will be held in jail over the weekend, his lawyer said.

Christopher Tappin, who lost his two-year battle against being sent to America last week, will have to wait until Monday to learn whether he will be released on bail, his US lawyer Dan Cogdell said.

Tappin, 65, who is spending 23 hours a day locked in his cell, will be held at Otero County detention centre in New Mexico until the federal court in El Paso, Texas, rules on the bail hearing.

Daryl Fields, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in the western district of Texas, said US magistrate judge Robert Castaneda adjourned the hearing until 1.30pm local time Monday (8.30pm BST) when he will deliver his ruling.

Earlier, Kent Schaffer, representing Tappin, said his client would agree with any measures the court chose to impose for his release while he awaits trial.

Tappin, of Orpington, Kent, denies attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles which were to be shipped from the US to Tehran via the Netherlands. The president of the Kent Golf Union faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted.

A family spokeswoman confirmed his wife Elaine, 62, would not be making any comment until the result of the bail hearing was known on Monday.

Tappin's MP, Tory Jo Johnson, and Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who has known the businessman for nearly 40 years, urged Home Secretary Theresa May to intervene to ensure the US authorities did not object to bail. On Tuesday, his wife broke down in tears as she told MPs of her despair that nobody was prepared to listen to her husband's defence before "carting him off".

Tappin's case fuelled the row over the fairness of the extradition treaty between the UK and the US. Attorney General Dominic Grieve said Tappin's extradition highlighted problems with the treaty which were not "readily curable", warning that many Britons were left uneasy when faced with the seemingly harsh and disproportionate sentences in the American justice system.

Other critics of the 2003 treaty, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, have described it as "one-sided". But an independent review by retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Scott Baker last year found it was both balanced and fair.

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