Norris loses battle in UK courts against extradition to the US

British Supreme Court rejects claim that trial will breach human rights

The retired chief executive of Morgan Crucible has lost his battle to avoid extradition to the US to face claims that he obstructed justice in relation to price-fixing investigations by the Department of Justice (DoJ).

Ian Norris – who is 67 years old and has health problems – has been fighting the case for more than five years. The latest appeal, lodged last November, claimed that extradition would breach his right to a private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. But the Supreme Court, which is Britain's highest appeal court, unanimously rejected the appeal.

Lord Phillips, the president of the Supreme Court, said that the public interest would be "seriously damaged" if family ties and dependencies such as those of Mr Norris and his wife rendered a defendant immune from extradition to be tried for serious wrongdoing. "It is for this reason that only the gravest effects of interference with family life will be capable of rendering extradition disproportionate to the public interest that it serves," Lord Phillips said. "This is not such a case."

Mr Norris has 14 days to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The case is one of several high- profile tests of the US-UK extradition laws in recent years (see story, right), and Mr Norris's lawyers have maintained throughout that any activities which take place on UK soil should be subject to the UK justice system. Alistair Graham, Mr Norris's solicitor at White & Case, says the Government has stripped British citizens of a "fundamental protection".

"Today we see the results of that as a 67-year-old man, in poor health, is likely to be extradited to the US for activities said to have taken place in the UK and for which no substantive evidence has ever been considered in the UK courts," Mr Graham said yesterday.

Mr Norris was first arrested in London in 2005 on charges of rigging prices in the carbon parts market, with other executives. The US authorities allege that between 1999 and 2001, he authorised the shredding of documents that included evidence of price-fixing from the files of Morgan Crucible companies in Europe, directed another employee to do the same in the US, and agreed with other members of staff to give false accounts to the DoJ investigators.

Mr Norris denies all the allegations, and in 2008 he won a "significant victory" when the House of Lords called a halt to earlier extradition proceedings on the grounds that price-fixing was only made a criminal offence in England and Wales in 2002. The Law Lords ruled that, because the activities Mr Norris is accused of took place between 1999 and 2001, they are not covered by the 2003 Extradition Act governing the procedure between the UK and the US.

But the DoJ refused to let the matter drop, pursuing Mr Norris on the related charges of obstruction of justice instead. After losing his extradition battle on the second round of charges in the lower courts, Mr Norris appealed to the Supreme Court in November. Mr Norris's lawyers claimed that extradition would cause "disproportionate damage" to the health of both Mr Norris himself and his seriously depressed wife.

Mr Norris left Morgan Crucible in 2002, after a battle with prostate cancer. Although this is now in remission, he still has problems and relies on nursing by his wife. He worked for Morgan Crucible, the engineering group, for nearly 30 years.

Why the law is so controversial? Other cases

The long-running legal battle over the extradition of Ian Norris has been keenly watched by the British business community. The controversial extradition treaty between Britain and the US hit the headlines in 2002 when Giles Darby, David Bermingham and Gary Mulgrew – the so-called NatWest Three – were accused of defrauding their employer, Greenwich NatWest, in relation to the collapse of Enron.

During the subsequent court battle, those arguing against extradition maintained that the crime was committed by British citizens living in Britain against a British company, and they should therefore be tried by British courts. They also emphasised the inequality of the extradition system, which does not require the Americans to produce prima facie evidence, for example. The case of Gary McKinnon, a Scot accused of perpetrating the "biggest military computer hack of all time" against the Pentagon, is still ongoing. Mr McKinnon insists he was looking for evidence of a UFO cover-up and did not cause the $800,000 damage to computer networks alleged by US authorities. The Home Secretary signed off Mr McKinnon's extradition late last year, despite lawyers' claims that he has Asperger's syndrome and his health is at risk.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Mock the tweet: Ukip leader Nigel Farage and comedian Frankie Boyle
peopleIt was a polite exchange of words, as you can imagine
Life and Style
fashion
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Finance Assistant - Part time - 9 month FTC

£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...

Marketing Manager

£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...

Market Risk Manager - Investment Banking - Mandarin Speaker

£45,000 - £65,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is a well-known APAC Corporate and...

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain