Ticu v Tribunalul Bacau (Romania), Court of Appeal - Administrative Court, February 16, 2018, [2018] EWHC 269 (Admin)

Issuing Organization:Administrative Court
Actores:Ticu v Tribunalul Bacau (Romania)
Resolution Date:February 16, 2018

Case No: CO/5226/2016

Neutral Citation Number: [2018] EWHC 269 (Admin)




Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 16/02/2018



(Sitting as a Judge of the High Court)

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Adam Payter (instructed by Kingsley Napley LlP) for the Appellant

Julia Farrant (instructed by CPS Extradition Unit) for the Respondent

Hearing date: 1 February 2018

Further written submissions served on 5 February 2018

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JudgmentSir Stephen Silber:


  1. Ovidiu Ticu (``the Appellant'') appeals against an order made by District Judge Grant on 7th October 2016 by which he ordered the Appellant's extradition pursuant to a conviction EAW issued by Tribunalul Bacau in Romania (``the Respondent'') on 29th February 2016 and certified by the National Crime Agency on 9th March 2016. The Appellant is wanted to serve a sentence of 7 years' imprisonment for tax evasion.

  2. The Appellant is now only pursuing one ground of appeal which is that the District Judge was wrong to find that the Appellant was deliberately absent from his trial in accordance with section 20(3) of the Extradition Act 2003 (``the 2003 Act'') and that he should be discharged as he was not entitled to a retrial in Romania. His alternative case was that even if the Appellant was deliberately absent, he should have been discharged on account of the reasons for his absence and the want of a right to retrial in accordance with section 21(2) of the Act and Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights (``ECHR''). The Respondent's case is that the District Judge was correct to order extradition and that the appeal should be dismissed.

    The Judgment of the District Judge

  3. The findings of the District Judge were that:

    a) The Appellant's evidence was that he became involved with a Mr. Relu, who asked the Appellant to assist with his business of importing cars; with the Appellant acting as an agent for a company called Loxam. The Appellant said that it transpired that the vehicles purchased on behalf of Loxam were not registered in the company name and that neither VAT nor tax was paid on the profits from the resale of the vehicles.

    b) The Appellant had said in evidence that he was interviewed by the police in 2008 in relation to non-payment of VAT. The Appellant said that he was never told about charges but that ``we understood all of us what was done was illegal... Me and all the other witnesses decided that the money should be paid back'' (page 8).

    c) The Appellant said in evidence that he had paid €5000 to his solicitor Codrin Andoniu, a criminal solicitor, and that there were €81,000 owing to the tax authorities and ``his one-third share of that liability was €27,000''. According to the Appellant, ``Mr Andoniu assured him that he would not have to make any more payments after that'' (page 8).

    d) The Appellant said that ``nothing happened until December 2014 when everyone said he [the Appellant] was the person who was lying and that they were innocent'' (page 8). The Appellant said that ``he had not contacted the police, the prosecutor or Mr Andoniu between 2010 and 2014'' (page 9). He said that ``after he heard about the court case in December 2014 he contacted Mr. Andoniu on Facebook'' and that ``Mr Andoniu told him that `there is a court case on 18th December'''. The Appellant said that he ``replied `I am sure that I will not attend, is it important that I should be there?''' (page 8).

    e) The District Judge stated that the Appellant ``made a surprising decision not to travel to Romania in December 2014 when he was informed of the hearing on 18 December'', and that ``it was also surprising that he made no enquiries about the progress of his case from December 2014 until May 2015 when he claims he discovered that he had been convicted and sentenced'' (page 10).

    f) The District Judge ``treated what [the Appellant] said about his state of knowledge of the court proceedings after December 2014 with considerable caution'' (page 11).

    g) He noted that ``what is clear from the documents is that successful applications for adjournments were made on 27 January 2015, 24 February 2015 and 24 March 2015'' and that ``it is difficult to believe that those applications were made without instruction and that the [Appellant] remained oblivious to the progress of the criminal proceedings in early 2015'' (page 11).

    h) The District Judge ``concluded from hearing [the Appellant's] evidence that when [the Appellant] learnt in December 2014 that his trial was on foot, he should have immediately taken an active part in that trial'' and that ``[f]urther, [the Appellant] should have taken steps to ensure that all procedural steps that had taken place were challenged as [the Appellant's Romanian law expert] suggested that was he was entitled to do including challenging any evidence taken by the court'' (pages 12-13).

    i) According to the District Judge, ``there were hearings on 28 October 2014, 25 November 2014 and 18 December 2014 at which evidence was heard, [the Appellant] was not present but he was represented by the duty solicitor'' (page 16).

    j) He also found that the Appellant ``instructed his lawyer, Codrin Andoniu to represent him in the proceedings'' and this lawyer ``instructed his assistant Ms. Andreea Amarinoiaie [who is a qualified solicitor] to attend the hearings in his place on 27 January 2015, 24 February 2015 and 24 March 2015''. According to the District Judge, ``although [the Appellant] states that he was not aware that Mr Andoniu's assistant had been asked to attend court in his place that is apparently a matter which [the Appellant] could complain about to the Romanian Bar Association but it is not a matter that entitles [the Appellant] to challenge the fact that he was legally represented at those three hearings or that the standard of representation fell below the standard of representation he was entitled to expect'' (page 16).

    k) The District Judge concluded that ``[h]aving considered both the written evidence and the oral evidence, I find that [the Appellant] knew of the proceedings in Romania at the latest on or before 12 December 2004 (the date when text messages with Mr Antoniou [sic] were exchanged) but chose not to return to Romania to participate in those proceedings or for the subsequent appeals and he was legally represented throughout those proceedings'' (page 17). I interject that this conclusion is challenged by the Appellant at the present hearing.

    l) He also concluded, in dismissing the section 20 challenge, that ``the [Appellant] was deliberately absent from the trial certainly from 18 December 2014 and that he was represented at his trial with effect from that date'' and that ``[the Appellant] was in theory able to challenge all the evidence received by the court...

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