Rape suspect Nicholas Rossi fails to have extradition hearing thrown out

A solicitor acting for the American argued that the hearing should not go ahead as it was unclear whether he would face further charges in England.

A legal bid to have the long-delayed extradition hearing of a man suspected of rape in the United States thrown out of court has failed.

Nicholas Ross, who allegedly faked his own death to avoid prosecution, continued to deny his identity when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday.

The 35-year-old, who arrived at court wearing a legal gown, previously claimed in court to be an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight but a sheriff ruled last November that he is Nicholas Rossi.

Asked by the clerk of court if he was Nicholas Rossi, the accused replied “no”.

Nicholas Rossi arrives at Edinburgh Sheriff Court for an extradition hearingPA Media

His lawyer, Mungo Bovey KC, then moved for the extradition hearing to be scrapped citing a recent decision to move Rossi to a prison south of the border so that English police can question him about an alleged rape there.

Mr Bovey argued it would be wrong to press ahead with the hearing then, potentially, set terms for Rossi’s extradition to the US based on his current medical condition before knowing whether he would be charged in England.

He said should charges be brought and proven, then Rossi could end up serving a custodial sentence in England during which his health could deteriorate before being extradited under the terms set in Edinburgh when he was in better health.

Mr Bovey said: “In my submission we are in an awkward position by reason of a decision apparently made in the Crown Office.”

Advocate depute Alan Cameron argued the extradition hearing ought to continue, however, saying Mr Bovey’s argument rested on possibilities.

After a lengthy adjournment, sheriff Norman McFadyen decided the hearing should go ahead but added that the subject of Rossi being wanted for questioning in England being raised at its outset was “deeply unsatisfactory”.

Rossi was arrested and detained, while he was being treated for Covid-19 at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, in December 2021, in connection with an alleged rape in Utah.

It has been alleged Rossi faked his own death in 2020 and fled from the US to the UK to evade prosecution.

The hearing continues.

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