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Man set to be extradited to Czech Republic after seven years on the run in Ireland

He was arrested in Ireland on a European Arrest Warrant in 2006 and in 2009 the Supreme Court ruled he should be extradited.

THE HIGH COURT has cleared the way for a man to be extradited to the Czech Republic after spending some seven years on the run.

In 2009 the Supreme Court ruled Marek Ster, who has been living in Ireland for some time, should be surrendered to his native Czech Republic. However he was never extradited as he went on the run after the court made its ruling.

Ster, who suffers from a number of health problems, is wanted by the authorities in the Czech Republic where he is due to serve a four-and-a-half-year prison term following his conviction for committing gross bodily harm and theft in 2002.

He was both convicted and sentenced by a Czech court in his absence.

Arrest warrant

He was arrested in Ireland, on foot of a European Arrest Warrant, in November 2006.

He opposed the application to extradite him, on grounds including that he feared for his and his family’s life and safety because he was under threat from members of the Russian mafia. This was why he and his family had fled the Czech Republic.

The authorities in the Czech Republic rejected his claims, and told the Irish court Ster left because of the criminal prosecution that resulted in his conviction.

In 2008 the High Court ruled that he should be surrendered to his native country. He appealed that decision, which was dismissed by the Irish Supreme Court.

Ster, who had been on bail, was not present when the Supreme Court delivered its decision. The court issued a bench warrant ordering his arrest.

At the High Court today Mr Justice Bernard Barton was told Ster was arrested by the gardaí earlier this week and had been held at Dublin’s Cloverhill Prison.

When the judge asked where Ster had been for the last number of years since the Supreme Court dismissed his appeal, the judge was informed it appeared Marek Ster “had been living in Co Clare”.

Changed name

Ster was arrested by gardaí near his home outside Ennis, before being processed at Killaloe Garda Station.

Counsel for Ster, Kieran Kelly, said it was accepted that after losing his appeal Ster had changed his name by deed poll to Martin Balog.

Counsel added that Marek Ster’s medical condition had changed since the extradition request had been adjudicated on. In 2009 he suffered a stroke and he had also been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Counsel said while Ster had been able to come to court today on crutches, on other days he required the use of a wheelchair. Counsel said that his client was seeking a stay on his surrender on medical grounds.

Counsel sought an adjournment to October so Ster’s lawyers could produce additional medical evidence supporting his application.

Lawyers for the State argued that there were no grounds put before the court that would merit the postponement of Marek Ster’s surrender.

Mr Justice Barton refused to place any further stay on Ster’s extradition. The judge said that nothing had been put before the court that would merit postponing Ster’s surrender to the Czech Republic.

The court’s ruling clears the way for Ster’s extradition to take place in the coming days.

Read: Third person to appear in court over serious assault that left victim in critical condition>

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Ray Managh

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