A court in Edinburgh yesterday ruled in favor of Taiwan’s request to extradite British fugitive Zain Dean over a fatal hit-and-run case and began proceedings to bring him to Taiwan, Taipei Representative Office in the UK Assistant Director Yin Wen-hsin (尹文新) said last night.
Yin said that Scottish Judge Kenneth Maciver had rejected the assertion made by Dean’s attorney that Taiwan’s eligibility to have the British national extradited was questionable because it is not recognized as a sovereign nation by the UK.
Dean fled Taiwan in August 2012, shortly before he was due to begin a four-year prison term he received for the death of a newspaper delivery man in March 2010.
In his ruling, Maciver said that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the UK and Taiwan regarding extradition in Dean’s case in the absence of a formal extradition treaty showed that the British government recognized Taiwan’s status as a territory, Yin said.
A report carried by the Central News Agency (CNA) and filed in Edinburgh quoted the judge as saying that, after reviewing the relevant documents, he had concluded that it is unnecessary for him to handle the matter any differently than the manner in which the UK government does.
On the first day of the hearing on Wednesday, Dean’s advocate cast doubt on Taiwan right to sue Dean because of its ambiguous political status.
Taiwan is not a territory, nor is it a UN member or an independent county, the lawyer was quoted as saying by CNA.
He added that Taiwan does have some diplomatic allies, but they were small countries, the CNA report quoted him as saying.
In a counterargument, the British advocate representing Taiwan said that the judicial cooperation over Dean’s extradition means that the UK Home Office accepts Taiwan’s legal status as a territory, despite the absence of official diplomatic ties, the report added.
That is why the UK Home Office agreed to sign the memorandum, which is based on the British Extradition Act of 2003, the advocate said, according to CNA.
As of press time, the proceedings for Dean’s extradition trial were still ongoing.