Northampton couple fear extradition battle is lost on eve of appeal dismissal

Paul and Sandra Dunham
Paul and Sandra Dunham

A Northampton couple on the verge of extradition to the US to face fraud charges say they are being played as ‘pawns’ in a diplomatic game.

The High Court is set to formally hand down a decision to dismiss Paul and Sandra Dunham’s application to appeal to the Supreme Court against their extradition tomorrow.

They are being pursued by the US Department of Justice over a claim they embezzled more than one million US dollars (£605,000) in illegitimate expense claims.

But while they have now written to the Home Office requesting that it allows them a further 14 days to make a ‘rule 39’ application to the European Court of Human Rights, Mr Dunham fears their fight may already be lost.

He believes the British Government is preferring to maintain extradition laws between the US rather than looking after its citizens.

Mr Dunham said: “The harsh reality is Sandra and I are pawns in a game being played by others. We’re powerless and it’s excruciating.

“We now put our hopes in the European Court, but fear the outcome is inevitable.

“How many more lives will be torn to shreds by our Government’s failure to protect its own citizens from unfair extradition with automatic pre-trial imprisonment?

“It’s a sad indictment of politics today that honouring a treaty to the US is a higher priority than justice. Only in Britain.”

Michael Evans, of Kaim Todner Ltd, the Dunhams’ solicitor, said: “The High Court dismissed the Dunhams’ applications to the Supreme Court having earlier found that it is “clear” the Dunhams would not get pre-trial bail; that the detention facility regime is plainly “harsh” and that the treatment of Mr Dunham’s mental health might be unsatisfactory.

“The considerable damage to the Dunhams caused by their extradition is believed in law to be a price worth paying in order to honour our US treaty obligations.

“Yet again, the 2003 Extradition Act has brutal effect.”