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Sunday 28 May 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Graham Hughes
# Courts
Former vet wanted to face charges of sexual activity with animals is to be extradited to UK
Oliver Lown is facing 12 offences, including making indecent images of children.

THE HIGH COURT has ordered the extradition of a former veterinary surgeon who is wanted in the UK to face multiple charges of sexual activity with animals and of making child abuse material.

Oliver Lown (36), with an address at Main Road, Kesgrave, Ipswich, Suffolk, is wanted by authorities in the UK to face 12 offences, which includes the charge of having sex with dogs, horses, ponies and pigs, making indecent images of children, perverting the course of justice and possession of heroin.

Kieran Kelly BL, for Lown, had previously argued that the EU arrest warrant system relating to the UK was now underpinned by the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which made the warrant for Lown “fatally flawed”.

In July, the Supreme Court referred a case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) after two men challenged their surrender to the UK, claiming that the European Arrest Warrant system between Ireland and the UK was invalid.

The men claimed that the lack of an “opt-in” measure for arrest warrant procedure meant that Ireland was not bound by terms of treaties governing surrender to the UK.

However, last month the CJEU rejected those arguments, finding that the provisions in the TCA are binding on Ireland under EU law and did not require Ireland having a choice about whether or not to opt in to them.

In his judgement today at the High Court, Mr Justice Paul Burns dismissed the respondent’s argument on the TCA, noting that the CJEU ruling remedied the matter and that the line of argument would not be pursued.

Kelly had further argued that the warrant was also “fundamentally flawed” because it was issued by Ipswich Magistrate Courts but signed off on by a Crown Court judge, which he said does not satisfy the criteria of “total clarity and unambiguousness” regarding warrants. He further argues that a supplemental part of the warrant was then filled out by a UK prosecutor and not the appropriate authority.

Mr Justice Burns said he was satisfied that the additional information received from the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK was “reliable” and that there was no reason to doubt the “bona fides” of the person who furnished the additional information regarding the issuing of the warrant, namely a judge. He dismissed the submission that there was a lack of clarity, saying there was no “uncertainty” with regard to the warrant.

The judge pointed out that Ipswich Crown Court judge Emma Peters had written that the charges against Lown were “serious allegations” on the warrant itself, when she issued it for his arrest in December of last year.

Mr Justice Burns said he was satisfied that Lown should be surrendered on all but one charge, that of possessing “extreme” pornographic material, which did not have a corresponding offence in Ireland.

Today, Mr Justice Burns said Lown was facing a maximum sentence of life for the charge of perverting the course of justice, 10 years for the charge of making indecent images of children, seven years for possessing heroin, five for possession of cannabis and two years for the charge of possessing the indecent images.

Mark J Byrne BL, for the Minister for Justice, informed the court that Lown was also facing a drug-driving charge at Letterkenny District Court on 13 January next. Mr Justice Burns said the charge was not sufficient to postpone the surrender.

Before being led away by prison guards, the judge said that Lown should be remanded in custody for not less than 15 days before being surrendered to the relevant authority during a 10-day period thereafter.

Previous hearing

At a previous hearing at the High Court, Detective Sergeant Jim Kirwan of the Garda Extradition Unit told Aoife Carroll BL, for the State, that on 8 February 2021, he called to an address at Gortnaskea near Letterkenny, where he arrested Lown on foot of the warrant and cautioned him.

Detective Sergeant Kirwan said he introduced himself to Lown and showed him his ID card. He said that Lown agreed that his name was Oliver Lown and that one of the aliases he used was Ollie Fraser Henderson, while his place of birth was in Ipswich in the UK.

The detective said he read out the offences contained in the warrant to the respondent and asked him whether he knew what they were about, which Lown indicated he did.

The warrant states that PC Harvey accompanied by probation officer Chris Royal attended a house on Main Street, Kesgrave, at 10.10am on 4 April 2019. They were informed by the occupants that their son, Lown, lived in the annex above their garage with another man.

The warrant further states that PC Jon Harvey located Lown in the annex and a situation then unfolded whereby Lown threw a laptop in a pond to evade its inspection by police. After forensic examination of the laptop, Lown was subsequently arrested on suspicion of possessing extreme pornography. Lown was also arrested on the same date for perverting the course of justice and possession of heroin.

The warrant also states that police attended the address of the sex offender at Burrell Road, Ipswich on 29 August 2019, where Lown was present. He was arrested on suspicion of making, taking, possessing and distributing indecent images of children. He was also arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis. He was interviewed and responded “no comment” to all questions asked.

The warrant states that police arranged to meet Lown at Martlesham Police Investigation Centre on 27 November 2019. He did not attend, went missing and was circulated on the UK’s Police National Computer as “wanted”.

It states that 1,219 extreme pornographic images, of which 1,067 are unique, were recovered from the hard drive of the laptop as well as 3,512 extreme pornographic videos, of which 3,511 are unique. Other images recovered include 66 category A indecent images of which 43 are unique, 36 category B indecent images of which 26 are unique and 33 category C indecent images of which 23 are unique.

The warrant also states that Lown is charged with offences including sexual penetration per vagina/anus by a person with a living animal, making indecent photographs of children and possessing extreme pornographic images portraying an act of intercourse /oral sex with a dead /alive animal.

The alleged offences range from dates between 2013 and 2019.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing.