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High Court orders David McDermott extradition

The High Court in Accra says the state can go ahead to extradite British fugitive David McDermott for allegedly smuggling 400 kilogrammes of cocaine to the United Kingdom (UK).

According to the judge Merley Efua Wood, Ghana has an extradition treaty with the UK and that the crime is not a political crime.

She also dismissed arguments that narcotic related issues are not extradition offences. The judge then remanded him in prison custody till his extradition warrant is issued.

David Philip McDermott has been on the run for the past three years from the authorities of the UK but was picked up at his hideout in Accra on March 11, 2016.

He was facing three counts, namely, conspiracy to contravene Section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act, 1979, contrary to Section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977; conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of Class A, contrary to Section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977, and conspiracy to blackmail, contrary to Section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 of the UK for being been part of a gang that smuggled 400 kilogrammes of cocaine, with a street value of £70 million, from Argentina to the UK.

According to the prosecution McDermott was believed to be a key figure within the conspiracy to supply a large quantity of cocaine to the UK, for which his extradition was being sought by the UK government.

Earlier the prosecution and the defence teams addressed the court on whether or not the fugitive should be extradited.

Counsel for the fugitive, Victor Adawudu, is battling the state in his bid to stop the process. According to him, Ghana and the UK did not have an extradition agreement.

Counsel also argued that his client could be tried in Ghana, adding that his client had not been convicted in the UK.

Mr Adawudu said the state had breached the extradition procedures with impunity, insisting that the extradition treaty the prosecution was relying on had been repealed.

He urged the court to boldly decline the invitation by the state to extradite his client because the court had the jurisdiction to hear the case.

But a Senior State Attorney, Mr Richard Gyambiby, held a different view and insisted that there was a valid extradition agreement between Ghana and the UK.

He said the prosecution was not seeking to try the fugitive in Ghana but was only interested in seeking a court order to extradite him.

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