A lawyer fighting against the extradition of a rape suspect wanted in the US has argued in court it would be a “flagrant violation” of his human rights.
Mungo Bovey KC summed up his arguments shortly after an adjournment had to be called during proceedings at Edinburgh Sheriff Court when suspect Nicholas Rossi announced he wanted to dismiss his lawyer.
His interruption came as Mr Bovey argued that Rossi, who claims to be another man named Arthur Knight, had never been proven to be a US national citizen.
Rossi, 35, is wanted in the US in connection with alleged offences including rape and is contesting moves by authorities there to have him flown over to face trial.
Mr Bovey raised a number of issues he argued would breach Rossi’s rights if he were to be extradited including making it more difficult for him to engage with lawyers and the condition of prisons.
He said prisons in the state of Utah were short-staffed, offered “poor” medical care and had twice the average rate of deaths by suicide.
He also pointed out an executive board and not a judicial one would decide Rossi’s sentence should he be convicted of rape in the US and this could be considered another breach.
Mr Bovey raised these points after the adjournment was called when Rossi announced to the court he wished to dismiss him.
The lawyer was arguing Rossi had never been proven to be a US national with sheriff Norman McFadyen when Rossi made the intervention.
Rossi said twice that he wanted to “dismiss counsel” which drew a warning from the sheriff.
He told Rossi: “If you are disruptive I will have you removed from court.”
The hearing continued following the brief adjournment with no further mention of Rossi’s demands and broke for lunch at 1pm.
Rossi was arrested in the UK more than two years ago in connection with the alleged offences in the US.
He was being treated for Covid-19 at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow when he was detained in December 2021.
It has alleged Rossi faked his own death in 2020 and fled from the US to the UK to evade prosecution.