Car thief loses his extradition appeal after eight years on run

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Dariusz Burdynski appealed to the Royal Court against a decision by the Assistant Magistrate that he should be sent back to Poland to serve a two-year prison sentence.

The 32-year-old had been living in Jersey since August 2010 and has been convicted of assaulting a woman while in the Island.

According to a Royal Court judgment published this week, the extradition proceedings concern offences he admitted committing in the country in 2004. In September of that year, when he was 18 years old, he broke into and drove away an Audi 100 car and stole a VW Passat.

Burdynski was sentenced to two years in custody for these crimes by a Polish court, but that sentence was suspended for four years during which time he would be on probation. However, the start of that probation period was delayed because he was also convicted of three further offences and jailed for four years for them. It was when he was released from that jail term that the probation period began.

The Royal Court heard that, after his release, Burdynski had failed to maintain regular contact with his probation officer and had left his home and the country without informing the relevant authorities.

In November 2011, 15 months after he moved to Jersey, a Polish court ordered that Burdynski be found, arrested and jailed for two years because he had breached the probation order imposed on him for taking the two cars.

In 2015, Jersey’s Attorney General received a letter from the Minister of Justice in Poland requesting that Burdynski be extradited.

He was arrested in Jersey on 18 July 2018. The judgment said that the court had been given no explanation for the delay.

Advocate Jeremy Garrood, who appeared for Burdynski, argued that there were a number of problems with the way that his client’s extradition case had been handled. He questioned the validity of the Attorney General’s ‘certificate’ calling for the extradition, saying that it was flawed. He also told the court that his client should not be extradited because the offences did not meet the required legal criterion that they should attract a sentence of more than 12 months. He contended that because he was 18 at the time of the offences, a Jersey court would have been unlikely to impose a term of custody longer than a year.

The court rejected these arguments, saying that the authority of the certificate was sound and that the offence had attracted a sentence of more than 12 months in Poland and therefore met the necessary sentencing threshold.

In rejecting the appeal, the court ruled in its written judgment that the Assistant Magistrate’s decision to extradite should stand.

It said: ‘Whilst we have some sympathy with the appellant, who has been well settled in Jersey now for some nine years during which time he has not offended, it is for the Polish courts, not this court, to decide how he is to serve the remainder of his sentence.’

Quoting UK Supreme Court judge Lord Philips, it added: ‘It is of critical importance in the prevention of disorder and crime that those reasonably suspected of crime are prosecuted and, if found guilty, duly sentenced. Extradition is part of the process for ensuring that this occurs, on a basis of international reciprocity. It hardly needs to be said that there is a strong public interest in international co-operation for the prevention and punishment of crime.’

Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith was sitting with Jurats Charles Blampied and Jerry Ramsden.

  • The JEP has sought clarification as to why the judgment of the Royal Court stated that Burdynski had not been convicted of any offences in Jersey when the newspaper had reported on his assault conviction as reported above. The Law Officers’ Department said that it was unable to comment for legal reasons.
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