A court in Edinburgh yesterday denied a request by British national Zain Dean, convicted in Taiwan of killing a man while driving under the influence of alcohol, to be granted bail and deferred a bail bond hearing at the request of Dean’s attorney to next month.
The hearing is scheduled for Dec. 16, while the court asked the defendant and Scottish prosecutors to present new testimony before Dec. 12, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official stationed in the UK, who attended the hearing yesterday to monitor developments.
The court also scheduled hearings on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9 to rule on a request made by the Taiwanese government that Dean be extradited to Taiwan to face trial, the official added.
Because the UK has three levels of trial courts, the legal process to rule on the extradition request could be very lengthy, the official said, adding that Scottish prosecutors said experience has shown that it can take as long as two or three years to reach a final verdict in an extradition case.
Dean, chief executive of UK-based NCL Media’s Taiwan branch before fleeing Taiwan last year after his conviction, was arrested by Scottish police on Oct. 17 and was detained following a ruling by an Edinburgh court.
Dean fled Taiwan in August last year, shortly before he was due to begin serving a four-year prison term for the killing of a newspaper delivery man in downtown Taipei in 2010 while driving under the influence of alcohol.
Taiwanese prosecutors issued a warrant for Dean’s arrest in January.
Following his high-profile escape, in which Dean used a friend’s passport and makeup to disguise himself, the Ministry of Justice contacted British authorities through diplomatic channels to ask for assistance after the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office learned of his whereabouts.
Several rounds of negotiations eventually led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding last month specifically covering Dean’s extradition. It was signed by Chen Wen-chi (陳文琪), director of the Ministry of Justice’s Department of International and Cross-Strait Legal Affairs and British Home Office Director Tyson Hepple.
Commenting on the Edinburgh court’s latest ruling, Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) yesterday said he was gratified by the judges’ decision.
“I hope the judges will take into consideration the pain and suffering of the victim’s family, as well as Dean’s criminal act, and rule in favor of the extradition request,” Chen said.