Image copyright Handout Image caption Phillip Harkins has always repudiated being involved in the theft in 1999

The European court of human rights of Human Rights has ruled a Scottish gentleman should be tried for assassinate in the US following a record-breaking extradition engagement.

It responded Phillip Harkins’ human rights has not been able to be breached if he was jailed for life without parole in Florida.

The 38 -year-old has been in jail in the UK since 2003, after being accused over a 1999 drugs-related attempted theft.

He has always repudiated being involved in the killing and turned over to Scotland in 2002 after being released on bail.

After his return to the UK, he was convicted and jailed for dangerous driving after killing a 62 -year-old woman in a car disintegrate in Greenock.

Following that sentence, the US approvals searched his deportation for the 1999 slaying of 22 -year-old Joshua Hayes – provoking the unprecedented law combat that has been before the European court of human rights twice.

Image caption The decree was made by the European court of human rights of Human Rights in Strasbourg

Analysis by Dominic Casciani, BBC Home Affairs correspondent

This has been an unprecedented 14 -year extradition battle which has gone on until now. It has been extraordinary.

Phillip Harkins has been all the way through the British courts – not once, but twice – and up to the European Court.

In essence, he was saying there used to be two issues. The first was the possibility of the death penalty. The Americans said they wouldn’t endeavour the death penalty in this case if he is convicted. That is a standard procedure which they always offer in British extradition cases.

But then Mr Harkins said, well if I’m going to be jailed for life without parole, it is a breach of of my human rights – it’s cruel and it’s degrading.

This has been a long-running row between the European court of human rights and the British dominions about the specific characteristics of life sentences.

A couple of years ago, even though he had lost his client in Strasbourg, he got a second chance because there was a little bit of doubt in the European Court’s mind. That’s why he went back today. This morning, he lost.

US lawyers insured the UK that it would not seek the death penalty for Mr Harkins were he to be convicted of the murder.

But his lawyers have argued for years that the prospect of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole formerly reformed constituted inhuman or cheapening treatment contrary to the European Assembly on Human Rights.

Mr Harkins lost all stages of his legal battle in the British tribunals, and the Strasbourg adjudicates previously regulated against him until a law twisting entailed he could try to make a second plea in 2015.

In a short statement on Monday morning, the Grand Chamber of special courts said that the speciman has not been able to be re-opened, making it would no longer standing in the way of the deportation.

‘Fighting a battle’

Under the usual procedures, the UK is now expected to inform the US that the extradition can go ahead, so that its authorities can make arrangements to transfer Mr Harkins to American custody.

Mr Harkins moved to the US with their own families when he was 14.

Shortly before his 21 st birthday he was accused of filming dead Joshua Hayes in Jackonsville, Florida, during an attempted robbery.

Mr Harkins returned to Scotland after being liberated on bail in 2002 and was involved in a vehicle gate-crash in his native Greenock, which claimed the life of 62 -year-old Jean O’Neill.

He was jailed for five years at the High-pitched Court in Edinburgh in 2003 after he admitted causing death by hazardous driving.

While in custody, Harkins was transferred to Wandsworth Prison in London, while proceedings got under way to extradite him to the US.

‘Pure hell’

The final ruling by the European Court has been welcomed by Joshua Hayes’ baby Patricia Gallagher.

Speaking from her home in Florida, she told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: “It’s been a long time and he has had appeal after plea, but the day that he leaves Scotland is the day that we’ll believe it’s over.

“This has been pure blaze – candidly, it’s been a fighting combat. We simply want to get him back for right. He should never have been over there – he should have been here.

“I truly don’t is how he was ever allowed that numerous petitions. That’s way too many. He says that he’s a victim, but he is not.”

Related Topics


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here