Belfast Telegraph

Pole convicted over assault loses his extradition battle

By Alan Erwin

A Polish man who set up home with his family in Northern Ireland 10 years ago has lost a High Court battle to stop his extradition.

Marcin Zlobikowski is wanted in his native country to serve a 12-month jail sentence for an assault offence.

The 40-year-old's legal team argued that forcing him to return would be a disproportionate interference in the life he shares with his partner and their daughter.

They also claimed that there had been an excessive delay in the case, with an European Arrest Warrant (EAW) being issued in 2008.

But dismissing the appeal against extradition yesterday, Lord Justice Gillen said that there was a public interest in "discouraging persons from seeing the UK as a state willing to accept fugitives from justice".

Zlobikowski was originally given a one-year suspended jail term by a Polish court in 2005 for causing bodily injury of medium severity.

However, the prison sentence was activated after he breached probation by coming to Northern Ireland with his family a year later.

They settled in Co Antrim, with both Zlobikowski and his partner finding jobs, and their nine-year-old daughter enrolling in a local school.

However, the defendant was arrested by police acting under the EAW in Ballymena in November 2015.

In April this year, Belfast County Court ordered his extradition.

Appealing that ruling, lawyers for the defendant argued that sending him home would interfere with his Article 8 entitlement to a family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.

They emphasised how his daughter suffered from a range of medical problems.

It was also claimed that Zlobikowski was being sought for a relatively minor offence, and that he and his family had become integrated in their local community.

Lord Justice Gillen ruled, however, that returning the defendant to Poland was proportionate.

He found no evidence to support concerns about the impact on his daughter.

Rejecting grounds concerning the delay in executing the arrest warrant, the judge said: "This appellant knew well when he left Poland what the likely consequences would be.

"He failed to return to explain either the economic reasons for coming to Northern Ireland or any other reasons for breaching the sentence imposed by the Polish court."

Belfast Telegraph


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