27 Jun 2022

Man loses appeal to stop his extradition to Romania for alleged murder committed in Ireland

Man loses appeal to stop his extradition to Romania for alleged murder committed in Ireland

A Romanian national who is being sought by the authorities in his native country for an alleged murder committed in Ireland has lost an appeal to prevent his extradition back to Romania.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal by Petronel Pal (36) against an order for his surrender to the Romanian authorities made by the High Court in April 2020.

Mr Pal had been granted a certificate to appeal an order allowing for his extradition as a judge ruled the case raised a point of law of exceptional public importance.

Lawyers for the accused claimed the findings in the case where French authorities had sought the extradition of Ian Bailey to France to go on trial for the alleged murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier prevented their client’s surrender to the Romanian authorities.

Counsel for Mr Pal, Remy Farrell SC, had argued that it was quite clear from the Ian Bailey extradition case that “it must be shown at a bare minimum that Ireland could prosecute in an equivalent circumstance” to satisfy the principle of reciprocity.

Under Section 44 of the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003, people cannot be surrendered for an offence alleged to have been committed in a place other than the issuing state if it does not constitute an offence under Irish law.

Counsel for the Minister for Justice, Robert Barron SC had argued that Ireland and Romania exercised extra-territorial jurisdiction on the same basis and that if the facts were reversed Ireland would have jurisdiction to prosecute.

Mr Pal was arrested by gardaí at Briarwood Lawn, Clonsilla, in Dublin. He is wanted for prosecution in Romania for aggravated murder allegedly committed at Academy Square, Navan, Co Meath in April 2014, and also for the creation of an organised crime group.

Virgil Busa (37), also from Romania, was allegedly assaulted at his apartment at Academy Square and died from his injuries three days later on April 13, 2014.

While living in Ireland, Mr Pal and a number of other identified individuals are alleged to have created, and been members of, an organised crime group. The group is alleged to be headed by a relative of Mr Pal.

It is alleged that Mr Pal and a number of these individuals broke into Mr Busa’s home in the early hours of April 10, 2014  and used extreme violence on Mr Busa and another Romanian national. 

Delivering the Court of Appeal’s ruling, Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly presiding, with Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh and Mr Justice Maurice Collins, said it was not possible to state “in the abstract” what factual circumstances, if reversed, should be taken into account for considering if there was reciprocity under Section 44.

“It is not possible to identify the factual circumstances which should be reversed in all cases,” Ms Justice Donnelly stated.

She said the High Court should rely on all factual circumstances relied on by the issuing state for its entitlement to prosecute the offence concerned even though it was committed outside its territory.

Ms Justice Donnelly said the High Court had properly taken into account the nationality of the appellant as being relied on by the Romanian authorities for seeking his extradition.

The judge said the surrender of Mr Pal was not prohibited by Section 44.

Mr Justice Maurice Collins said a refusal to surrender the appellant would “constitute a clear and unwarranted departure from the State’s obligations under the [EAW] framework decision”.

The Court of Appeal placed a 14-day stay on an order approving Mr Pal’s extradition to take effect to allow for a possible appeal to the Supreme Court.

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