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Essex deaths: Man facing 39 counts of manslaughter has 'modest means', court told

UK authorities allege that Eamon Harrison (22) delivered the trailer, where 39 Vietnamese nationals were found dead, to a Belgian port.

The truck container at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, UK.
The truck container at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, UK.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

A NORTHERN IRISH man, who is alleged to have delivered the trailer in which 39 Vietnamese nationals were found dead last month, is of “modest means”, the High Court heard this morning.

The court also heard that Eamon Harrison (22) from Mayobridge, Co Down, who is facing 39 counts of manslaughter, will not be seeking bail. Mr Justice Donald Binchy granted an application for Harrison to be have an additional senior counsel represent him.

This morning’s hearing follows on from an earlier court appearance on 1 November after the endorsement of a European Arrest Warrant for Harrison.

On that day, Sergeant Jim Kirwan told the court there are 41 offences in the European Arrest Warrant for Harrison including 39 manslaughter charges, one of conspiracy to commit human trafficking and one of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

The UK authorities allege that Harrison delivered the trailer, in which the 39 people were found dead, to a Belgian port before its onward journey to Britain, the court previously heard.

Where the offence was committed

Tony McGillicuddy BL, instructed by Paul Tiernan Solicitors, told the court on 1 November that the warrant may give rise to a potential Section 44 of the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003 “coming into play”.

The barrister said this is a “difficult section” of the act and added that it had to be considered in the case of Ian Bailey whose extradition to France was refused.

The section, which states that a person cannot be surrendered if the offence in the arrest warrant was committed in a place other than the issuing state, was found to be an “absolute bar” to the extradition of Bailey.

On 1 November, Mr Justice Binchy also set 21 November as a hearing date.

This morning Tony McGillicuddy BL told Mr Justice Binchy that he had an affidavit containing Harrison’s draft points of objection and that this has been provided to the Director of Public Prosecution.

He indicated that the issues relate to the “contents of the warrant” and “conflicts” that Harrison is arguing on the face of the warrant.

McGillicuddy also told the court that no application for bail for Harrison is being made.

The barrister said a statement of Harrison’s “modest” means has also been put before the judge.

McGillicuddy also made an application for an additional senior counsel to represent Harrison and the judge granted this, noting that he is familiar with the Ian Bailey decision.

The next dates

The junior counsel also told the judge that while Harrison’s points of objection have been put before the court, they will be “formally filed and formally served on the State” no later than 1pm this Friday.

Elva Duffy BL, for the State, confirmed that the DPP has received Harrison’s draft points of objection.

Mr Justice Binchy told the court that Harrison’s hearing date will remain as 21 November.

However, he acknowledged that McGillicuddy had flagged to him that there will probably be limitations as to what can be done on that date.

At the last hearing the court heard that on 23 October Essex Police received a call from the East of England Ambulance Service stating they were getting reports of illegal immigrants not breathing within a lorry in the area of Eastern Avenue, Waterglade Industrial, West Thurrock, Essex.

It later emerged there were 39 people, eight females and 31 males, all deceased in the lorry’s trailer unit.

Comments have been closed as the case is ongoing

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Olga Cronin

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