It would be "unjust" to extradite an Irish man who is still wanted in Germany for a "stupid" drunken incident at a Berlin takeaway almost 30 years ago, his lawyers have told the High Court.
A warrant for the arrest of Dublin-born Liam Patrick Daly (50) who has an address in Birmingham was first issued in 1996 over an allegation that he entered a takeaway on Uhlandstrasse in Berlin on February 18th, 1994, holding the leg of a chair and wanting money.
Lawyers for Mr Daly have argued the amount of time that has passed would result in a breach of his human rights if he is surrendered.
The warrant for Mr Daly, who also has a previous address at Berliner Strasse, Berlin, states he is alleged to have drunkenly entered the Berolina takeaway at 10pm with a mask on his head, brandishing the broken leg of a wooden chair in his right hand when attempting to strike a snack bar worker over the head.
The extradition warrant alleges that Mr Daly had the intent of taking money from the worker who was able to fend off the attack without injury.
At an extradition hearing at the High Court on Tuesday, Mr Daly's barrister, Willie Hughes BL, said Mr Daly had emigrated to the UK as an 18-year-old and then moved to Germany when he was 22.
Mr Hughes said his client had no recollection of events on the night due to intoxication. The barrister said Mr Daly was arrested and detained for three days but was released with his passport after nominating his fiancé's Berlin address for the service of any legal documents.
However, Mr Daly moved addresses soon after his release from detention which prevented the service of an indictment upon him. A German domestic warrant was issued for Mr Daly in August 1994 followed by a European Arrest Warrant in March 1996.
Mr Hughes submitted that there had been "no obligation" on Mr Daly to tell German authorities he had moved house and that there had been no suggestion of any limitations on his client's liberty.
The barrister said his client returned to Ireland in 1996, moved to Birmingham in 2002 on a permanent basis - travelling between Ireland and the UK on an Irish passport - and had not sought to evade any authorities.
UK extradition case
Mr Hughes said Mr Daly had been "living openly" in Birmingham since and that a 2003 UK extradition case resulted in a refusal to surrender his client over the same matter due to the nine-year delay between the issuing of the warrant and his arrest.
Mr Justice Kerida Naidoo said that while the warrant was issued in 1996 and that Mr Daly had "popped up" in 2003, he did not see how German authorities were culpable for a delay amounting to a breach of Mr Daly's human rights.
Mr Justice Naidoo said Mr Daly had been arrested and detained by German authorities in 1994 to whom the respondent had made "certain admissions". The judge said there was "no reason Mr Daly could believe they were completely disinterested" in pursuing the case as authorities in Berlin had tried to serve papers on the respondent and had informed him they would do so.
Mr Justice Naidoo added there had been "no delay" between issuing the domestic warrant for Mr Daly in August 1994 and the international search which was issued in March 1996.
Mr Hughes submitted that the German authorities were aware his client was Irish but that they had taken "no steps" to enquire with authorities in Ireland and "sat on their hands" as to the whereabouts of Mr Daly. The barrister said Mr Daly believed the matter to be settled in 2003 when the UK refused his surrender.
Mr Hughes said that after the 2003 decision, Mr Daly carried on with life "as normal", remained at the same Birmingham address for 20 years and had worked in construction in that time, flying back to Ireland to attend to his mother on numerous occasions every year.
Mr Justice Naidoo said that a factor in the UK court's decision not to surrender Mr Daly was that the court was told that the alleged injured party and a witness were thought to be unavailable which was now no longer the case.
"I now know critical things they didn't know," said Mr Justice Naidoo, who added that the "really long delay" did not amount to an abuse of process in itself. "The way it works is that you issue a warrant and wait until that person comes to the attention of the authorities," said the judge.
Mr Hughes said the warrant was amended and reissued in 2007, which still left an "egregious" 13 years between the amended warrant and the 1994 incident.
"It's unjust, unfair and oppressive," said Mr Hughes, who added that the delay was "an abuse of process".
'Stupid act carried out while drunk'
"The fact is that a very drunk man went into a takeaway in 1994 and was incapable of carrying out the act. There was no injury, no premeditation" said Mr Hughes, who said it was "a stupid act carried out while drunk". The barrister added that Mr Daly had not been in any trouble since 1994.
Mr Justice Naidoo said the warrant stated that the worker had "successfully defended himself" during the incident.
Anthony Hanrahan BL, for the Minister for Justice, said the European Arrest Warrant system had changed in 2004 and that an explanation for the 2003-2007 delay could be that German authorities had to adapt to the new system after being "rebuffed" by the UK courts.
Mr Hanrahan said the delay did not reach the "very high standard" required for an abuse of process and that Mr Daly had not returned to Germany to directly deal with the matter.
Mr Justice Naidoo said that by nominating his fiancé and her address as an agent and location for service of any papers Mr Daly "explicitly" knew he was to receive papers but then moved address.
Mr Hanrahan submitted that in 2003 the original warrant was still in effect and that the 2007 warrant had been amended to the sole charge of attempted aggravated robbery, removing a charge of "attempted bodily harm".
The barrister submitted that while the delay was "unusually long" it was "certainly not unique".
Mr Hanrahan said Mr Daly had made admissions when he was detained "a month before he departed the address nominated", making any argument that he believed the charges to be dropped "hardly credible".
Mr Daly then told his barrister that a constable in the UK informed him there was a separate, new warrant in existence in the UK for his surrender which was around two months old.
Mr Justice Naidoo then adjourned the matter to Tuesday of next week for inquiries to be made regarding the latest UK warrant and to see if the Minister was aware of any new warrant in Ireland.