Alleged paedophile faces anxious wait in fight against extradition order to US

An alleged American paedophile faces an anxious wait to see if he can be extradited to the US on a string of child sex offences.

Former choirmaster Roger Giese is fighting a renewed bid to extradite him from the UK to the US where he is wanted for trial in California, charged with sexually abusing a boy under the age of 14 from 1998 until 2002.

The removal of the 42-year-old was previously blocked by High Court judges in London on human rights grounds.

District judge Margot Coleman, sitting at London's Westminster Magistrates Court, said she would deliver her ruling at the same venue on August 14 at 2pm.

Giese has been living in a village in Hampshire under a different name and working for a PR company.

Alleged paedophile Roger Giese who faces an anxious wait to see if he can be extradited to the US on a string of child sex offences.

He sat quietly during the extradition hearing as lawyers argued over whether a promise by US legal officials on his future treatment should be trusted.

Giese is wanted in Orange County, California, on "19 serious charges of sexual offences" against a young boy.

It has been suggested he could serve up to 20 years if convicted of all offences, then potentially be assessed and categorised as a sexually violent predator and face a civil commitment order.

UK judges had refused to extradite Giese after concerns were raised that, if convicted, he might be subjected to an order for civil commitment - a form of indeterminate confinement in a secure facility.

The judges ruled there was a real risk and such an order could breach his human rights. They also ruled an assurance offered by the US government that this would not happen was "not sufficient".

There is a new assurance from the Orange County District Attorney's office stating that a civil commitment order would not be sought.

Defence counsel Julian Knowles QC described the assurance as "not adequate, not enforceable and not sufficient", stating: "There is a real risk of a flagrant denial of justice in California if he was to be extradited.

"The issue that you have to decide is whether the assurance offered by the District Attorney extinguishes that risk."

Mr Knowles said the assurance would "bite" in 18 or 20 years time when Giese, if convicted, might be nearing the end if his sentence.

He questioned whether the assurance could be binding on future District Attorneys who are elected political appointees.

He also stated "it is not enough to say it will be binding without saying why it is binding."

Mr Knowles said: "There is simply too much uncertainty and a real risk that were some future holder of the District Attorney's office - who would run for office on promises of being tougher than his predecessor - would say 'I know what is offered by my predecessors but today the circumstances are very different'."

He argued the assurance did not shut out an "unquantifiable but nevertheless real risk" of another agency seeking civil commitment in California.

An extradition request from the United States was first certified by the Home Office in May 2014 and a series of legal battles has been fought over Giese's removal ever since.

He is alleged to have befriended the boy in 1998, when he was working as a voice coach for the All-American Boys Chorus.

Giese has been on the run from the FBI since 2007.

According to a Mirror newspaper investigation, he set up home with a new partner in the Hampshire countryside. There was no suggestion she knew about his past.

Together the pair built a PR company with clients including travel giant Thomas Cook.

The Mirror reported that, through his company, Giese was invited to join Thomas Cook's digital advisory board and spent more than a year as the firm's "global head of social media".

Toby Cadman, for the US government, responded: "It is, of course, the government's position that the assurance is sufficient to allay any fears and that the assurance is unambiguous in its terms."

There was no suggestion that future District Attorneys may try to get around the assurance, he said.

He told the hearing: "The important question the court has to ask itself is whether the US or any designated authority is prepared to put its relationship with the UK, based on mutual trust and understanding, at jeopardy for the sake of this defendant. I would say that such a suggestion is ludicrous."

He agreed with the unforeseeable and unpredictable nature of what could happen in the future but said that "does not undermine" the assurance.

He described this way of thinking as "hypothetical in the extreme" and urged the court to "pay it no note".


KEYWORDS: roger giese, courts

 

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