Guardian and Times in bid to see extradition documents - Press Gazette

Guardian and Times in bid to see extradition documents

The Guardian and The Times are currently in the process of fighting to obtain legal documents used in a controversial extradition case from the High Court.

A UK magistrate has refused to disclose copies of documents which have been used to justify the extradition of British citizens Wojciech Chodan and Jeffrey Tesler.

On Friday Gavin Millar, QC for the newspapers, formally challenged this refusal at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Rob Evans one of the journalists from the Guardian writing about the case told Press Gazette: ‘I think this might be a landmark case, we’re trying to strengthen journalists’ rights to get documents in criminal and extradition cases. The court system should be helping us understand what’s going on rather than putting up hurdles.

‘Journalists are quite often the eyes and ears of the public and the public need to understand what’s going on.

‘Judges may think providing us with documents when we ask is a burden, but everything is a burden – Freedom of Information is a burden, the court system is a burden – It all depends on how strongly you believe the public have a right to know what’s going on in court.

‘Civil cases already have rules for getting documents referred to in open court, as this allows members of the public to understand what is going on and this is a good model to follow.”

Questions have been raised as to why Chodan, a retired businessman from Somerset, has been extradited to America in the first place.

Chodan is being extradited to face charges of conspiring to bribe Nigerian politicians and officials with more than $130m (£82m).Critics say there is little to tie the case to the US. London lawyer Tesler is still fighting an extradition attempt over his alleged part in the matter.

The verdict on the challenge is expected before Christmas.