An Irish court on January 24 ruled that one of the truck drivers wanted over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in a refrigerated lorry near London can be extradited from Ireland to the UK. According to reports, British authorities were seeking Eamonn Harrison on charges of human trafficking and immigration offences. Judge Donald Binchy of the Dublin High court reportedly said that the 23-year-old should now be sent to Britain to face charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.
The Judge further ordered Harrison's handover to Britain until February 4 as the lengthy judgement would not be available until early next week. He further also granted a request from Harrison's lawyer for more time to consider it. Harrison had earlier challenged the extradition order as his lawyers argued that a lack of information in the warrant about the place of death and how he was involved made the case 'fundamentally defective'.
Along with Harrison, another man from Northern Ireland was arrested and charged with conspiring to arrange the travel of people with a view to their exploitation, and conspiracy to break immigration laws. According to reports, the police had arrested ten people last year in connection with the deaths. Two other men from Ireland are also wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking.
The United Kingdom police had discovered the 39 bodies from a lorry container on October 23, last year. The lorry was found parked in Waterglade Industrial Park in southeast England. Police had launched a multiple-murder investigation and had arrested the 25-year-old lorry driver. All the 39 people, including a teenager, were declared dead at the scene, reported British media. According to media reports, the lorry was registered in Bulgaria and it had entered the county through Holyhead, Wales on October 19.
(with inputs from agencies)