9th July 2021
On 9 July 2021, the Chief Magistrate gave judgment in Lakatos v Hungary, discharging the requested person.
Mr Lakatos had been sought to serve a lengthy sentence for five offences, including three theft offences allegedly committed in Austria but prosecuted in Hungary. Hungary argued that the English courts would have extra-territorial jurisdiction over the theft offences in corresponding circumstances, on the basis that they constituted ‘money-laundering’ under s.329 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA), which has extra-territorial effect following R v Rogers  1 WLR 1017. In a significant decision, the Chief Magistrate agreed with Mr Lakatos’ submissions that R v Rogers did not have the effect contended for by Hungary. Contrary to what has commonly been assumed (see for example Archbold 2021 at 26-14), “some element of the impact of the substantive underlying criminality would have to be felt in this jurisdiction” in order for s.329 POCA to apply to conduct committed abroad. He therefore discharged the three theft offences as they were not extradition offences.
He discharged the remaining two offences under s.25 of the Extradition Act 2003 and Art 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Mr Lakatos had a number of complex medical conditions which rendered him unfit to fly, and which could have potentially life-threatening consequences if his supply of medication was interrupted even for a short period. Hungary had not provided adequate assurances as to the care Mr Lakatos would receive if he was extradited, and in those circumstances extradition would be unjust and oppressive.
Juliet Wells represented Mr Lakatos, instructed by Katy O’Mara of ITN Solicitors.