Extradition proceedings involving alleged fugitive Troy Thomas heated up on Monday when through his lawyers, Thomas told the Magistrates’ Court that it has no jurisdiction to hear the case and his rights to be protected as a Guyanese were being violated.
Thomas’ battery of Lawyers, which included Attorneys Nigel Hughes, Darren Wade and Bernard DaSilva, all made oral submissions to the Court Monday Afternoon, which insisted that Thomas could not be extradited.
The Lawyers called for the matter to be referred to the High Court where it may be more properly addressed.
It was Hughes who told acting Chief Magistrate, Sherdel Isaacs that she was in effect “sitting without power,” by continuing to preside over the case.
Attorney Darren Wade, on the other hand, argued that the extradition treaty between Guyana and the United States of America, which was first entered into between the UK and USA before Guyana gained independence, was never incorporated into local laws and as such has no binding effect.
Wade said although the treaty was mentioned in the Fugitive Offenders Act, it does not purport to incorporate the treaty but simply makes mention that it exists.
Wade said the Executive has signed the Treaty but it doesn’t afford the Magistrate Court any power to interpret or enforce it.
He was supported but Hughes, who also argued that the Minister of Public Security was wrong when he wrote to the Court, instructing that the extradition proceedings take place.
“The Minister cannot give the Court directions as to how a treaty should be dealt with… it is the biggest trespass of the Executive into the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court.”
The Defense also argued that once Thomas is extradited, local laws do not amend the international treaty, which allows for him to be re-extradited to a third country.
While insisting that the Court has no jurisdiction, the lawyers said that even if the proceedings must continue, their client would prefer if the case is referred to the High Court where it can be fully ventilated.
The defense team relied on several past cases to support its argument.
Attorney Stacy Goodin who has entered her appearance on behalf of the United States said she will need time to study those cases since they were not presented to her before.
The case has been adjourned until April 11th and transferred to the Providence Magistrates’ Court.
The transfer is to facilitate Magistrate Isaacs to continue presiding over the matter.
The Guyanese American man is wanted in New York in connection with the 2011 murder of Keith Frank in the same New York area.
The two reportedly had a confrontation outside a nightclub when Frank was shot multiple times. Thomas was identified as the assailant, but he reportedly moved to Guyana just after the incident and has not traveled back to the United States over the past seven years.
The US issued an arrest warrant for him earlier this year after receiving information that he was hiding out in Guyana.