Brazil v G. – Drug smuggling case collapses

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Our excelling Extradition team – Gitana Megvine and Ruta Mikailaite teamed up with Malcolm Hawkes at Doughty Street Chambers and successfully secured the discharge of a Portuguese national, Mr. G from an extradition request from the government of Brazil to the UK. The case collapsed after a Sao Paulo court ruled that the evidence was unlikely to be capable of convicting the requested person and the Westminster Magistrates Court found a real risk of a breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The result comes almost a calendar year after Mr. G was arrested on an accusation basis. His legal team argued throughout the case that there was no prima facie case or case to answer as the entirety of the prosecution case rested upon the hearsay evidence of a convicted co-defendant. That co-defendant alleged a third-party told him that Mr. G had paid for the drugs he was to smuggle from Brazil to Europe, allegations which Mr. G had always strenuously denied and for which there was no independent evidence.

Mr. G’s legal team attacked the case from all angles, including the question of Brazilian prison conditions. Relying upon the expert evidence of renowned prison expert, Prof. Juan Mendez, who travelled to Brazil and inspected Itai prison, Mr. G was able to demonstrate that the conditions there would clearly breach the UK’s obligations under Article 3 of the Convention. Moreover, Prof. Mendez also found that the client would likely also be held in squalid and dangerously overcrowded conditions in Sao Paolo pending transfer.

The Brazilian government then attempted to claim the client could be held at yet another prison, this time in Brasilia (Papuda prison); yet the evidence was clear that conditions at that prison would be even worse than in Sao Paolo or at Itai. The case then collapsed following a habea corpus challenge brought on behalf of Mr. G by Teixeira Advocates in Sao Paolo before the Brazilian government was able to propose anywhere else.

In Brazil v Ga first instance decision.

Alessio Pellegrini

Alessio, with the Marketing team, strives to help colleagues excel with client care, while also keeping the firm ‘on the pulse’ regarding the most critical issues affecting our clients’ lives.

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