The High Court of Justiciary Appeal Court ruled last week that there were substantial grounds for believing that the extradition of Zain Dean to Taiwan would be incompatible with article 3 of the ECHR due to the real risk of ill treatment in Taipei prison.
Mr. Dean, a 44-year-old UK citizen, faced extradition to Taiwan. He was convicted of negligent manslaughter following a drink-driving accident and sentenced to four years in prison. He absconded to Scotland and became the subject of Taiwan's first extradition case.
A memorandum of understanding concerning the extradition was entered into between the Home Office and the judicial authorities of Taiwan and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Extradition proceedings took place in 2014 and on 11 June 2014 Sheriff Maciver discharged Mr. Dean's arguments and sent the case to the Scottish Ministers to decide whether he should be extradited. On 1 August 2014 The Scottish Ministers made an extradition order to return Mr. Dean to Taiwan. He appealed to the High Court arguing that the Sheriff had erred in law and in his decision that that Art 3 and 6 would not be violated. An evidential hearing was directed to decide the issue concerning Art. 3 and prison conditions.
At various stages of the proceedings, undertakings were given by the Taiwanese authorities that Mr. Dean would be subject to special treatment in prison, ensuring he would not be subject to ill treatment, especially in light of the media's negative coverage and his unpopularity in Taiwan.
Dr. McManus was instructed by the Crown to inspect the prison conditions Mr. Dean would be subject to. He visited Taipei prison where he was shown some areas of the prison and the cell Mr. Dean would occupy. He concluded in his report that the special conditions Mr. Dean would be kept in would not reach the minimum level of severity required to constitute a breach of Art 3 of ECHR, however, he did not give the same opinion in relation to the conditions of the main detention building, in particular overcrowding and understaffing.
Due to this, the Court concluded that it was highly doubtful that the prison, even with well trained and motivated staff, had the capacity to be able to provide sufficient protection for Mr. Dean.