US fugitive 'failed to find psychiatrist' ahead of extradition hearing

Nicolas Rossi's lawyer said the 'media circus' surrounding the case had to put Scottish doctors off carrying out reports in the case.

Nicholas Rossi given last chance in Scottish extradition battle after ‘failing to find psychiatrist’ STV News

A suspected rapist wanted in the United States has been given a final chance to lodge reports with a Scottish court before a full extradition hearing takes place next month.

Nicholas Rossi appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court via video link on Monday in the long-running extradition battle, which was launched after US authorities in Utah accused the 35-year-old of sex offences.

Rossi has claimed this is a case of false identity and said he is an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight. But a sheriff in November ruled that he is Nicholas Rossi.

His solicitor, Stuart Murray, told the court there had been some “difficulty” in obtaining medical reports.

He said: “There has been difficulty in obtaining reports. I am seeking further time to have these reports lodged to the court.”

He told Sheriff Norman McFadyen they “could not find a psychiatrist willing to carry out reports in Scotland” and blamed the “media circus” surrounding the case as the reason no doctors were willing to carry out the examination.

Mr Murray claimed the Scottish Prison Service was unwilling to allow an in-person assessment to take place at HMP Edinburgh where Rossi is being held, but this was eventually held over a video link.

Rossi submitted a written application to address the court regarding his difficulties in prison, but both Mr Murray and the advocate depute Paul Harvey, for the Crown, had not seen this prior to the hearing, the court heard.

In responding to the application to delay the procedural hearing by one more week, Mr Harvey told the court the deadline for March had “came and went”.

Mr Harvey said: “Reports in this case were first requested in early March 2023.

“That deadline has came and went.”

He said that the full extradition hearing must go ahead in June and that the final adjourned preliminary hearing “must be the last deadline”.

Mr Harvey confirmed no proceedings will be brought against Rossi by the Crown after he was allegedly involved in an altercation with custody staff at a previous hearing last month.

Rossi came to the attention of the authorities when he was at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow in December 2021 with Covid-19.

It has been alleged Rossi faked his own death in 2020 and fled to the UK to evade prosecution before he was arrested in December 2021.

He was identified by tattoos matching police records for Rossi.

While in Scotland, under the alias Knight and posing as a tutor, Rossi developed Covid pneumonitis and became “the sickest patient on the ward”, according to medical staff who were caring for him at the time.

It was at this point Police Scotland officers were issued with an Interpol red notice, with pictures of the wanted man, including images of his tattoos and fingerprints.

Sheriff McFadyen set a final deadline for the reports to be lodged and a final preliminary hearing for Wednesday May 31, calling the situation “far from ideal”.

A full extradition hearing will begin on June 26.