Client of my firm invited to present himself to HMP Wandsworth to begin serving sentence of 5 years (imposed in POLAND in 2018!)

It is a rare thing indeed to have a client who pays you to GO TO PRISON. Its not exactly as it seems. In this case a Polish Court had convicted my client for a raid on a lorry of tobacco in Poland. The Polish Court imposed a sentence of 5 years imprisonment but the client found himself in the UK away from the arm of the law. Now, in cases such as these extradition proceedings are brought by the Judicial Authority to return the individual to prison. This is exactly what happened; however, even if one is successful in resisting extradition, one is effectively barred from leaving the UK until the said sentence expires. There is an obvious reason for this. If you are successful in winning your extradition case you are only safe in the UK. The moment you leave the country the UK Court decision does not apply and you can be arrested in any other country. This is the reason people who are successful in their extradition cases seldom travel outside the UK as protection is not afforded to them outside of the country.

In this particular case it was considered that chances of being successful resisting extradition were slim. The client lived in the UK with his family for some time, he was settled in this country and had he been extradited his family would either be separated from him by remaining in the UK or would need to uproot itself and return to Poland for the time of the sentence to be close to him. The lesser evil was to apply to the Polish Judicial Authority for permission to have the sentence transferred to the UK. After this step was successful we then needed to petition HM Prison and Probation Service to accept the transfer.

We started this process in 2019. The application was rejected at first and only after a Judicial Review was launched against the government did they change their decision. Now this was all back in 2019 when it WAS possible to have European sentences transferred to the UK under EU Directive Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA. Of course due to Brexit this is no longer possible thus making this article academic in nature!

Eventually after the Office Office had capitulated and agreed to sign a consent order allowing the transfer of the sentence, we withdrew the Judicial Review. We had an agreement from the government, it was mid 2020.

In early 2020 we found ourselves in covid lockdown and many government departments were not operating as before. Despite having the agreement from the government it was apparent that they were not implementing it into practise at that moment. Numerous reminders were sent to the government but the client had still not received his notification to present himself to begin serving his sentence. This was not of great concern as it was highly unlikely of the government backtracking on their decision. Low and behold in March 2022 we received the following letter from HMPPS inviting our client to present himself at HMP Wandsworth to begin serving the 5 year sentence! This was a very long process in which we took the government to Court and succeeded in fulfilling the client’s instructions.

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