I can't get fair trial, says Noye

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S MOST wanted man, Kenneth Noye, who has been linked with the M25 "road-rage" killing in 1996, told Spain's national court he opposed being extradited because the British media would make it impossible for him to receive a fair trial.

"I think I've already had my trial in England because of the media," Mr Noye, 51, yesterday told three Spanish magistrates considering a warrant submitted in September by Kent police. The hearing was in Madrid's high- security court, usually used for Eta terrorism trials. The judges are expected to rule in a week.

Mr Noye, asked by the presiding magistrate why he opposed the extradition request, glanced at the dozens of British journalists behind an armoured- glass screen and said: "It's impossible for me to get a fair trial because of the media and the unfair and unreasonable way I was identified in a restaurant."

Spanish police arrested Mr Noye in August last year in a restaurant in the town of Barbate, near Cadiz. Asked yesterday by his lawyer, Manuel Murillo, if he had anything to do with the stabbing of Stephen Cameron on an M25 slip-road in May 1996, Mr Noye said "No".

The chief prosecutor at yesterday's hearing, Eduardo Fungairino, said the court's purpose was not to decide whether Mr Noye was innocent or guilty but only to decide whether he should be extradited. "Britain's extradition request was presented scrupulously through all the requisite diplomatic channels and meets all the necessary requirements... it is not for the Spanish court to dispute the facts in the case."

Mr Fungairino conceded that the method whereby Mr Noye was identified before his arrest - by photofit not identity parade - "did not exactly accord with Spanish law", but this formed "no impediment" to granting extradition. "It is enough for us that a Kent JP has presented an international warrant... Britain presented an absolutely convincing account of the events concerning the stabbing and came to the conclusion that it could have been done by no other person than Kenneth Noye."

Mr Cameron, 21, was stabbed to death in front of Danielle Cable, after he and another motorist had an argument on a motorway slip-road at Swanley, Kent. Ms Cable identified Mr Noye in the restaurant.

Mr Murillo asked for extradition to be denied, saying the photofit identification - "the only piece of evidence against him" - was "worthless" in Spanish law. The Spanish constitution demanded "the principle of reciprocity" when granting extradition. "This means Britain must provide evidence of the substantive case on which he is charged, and we have to examine the evidence to see if it is sufficient. We reject the application on the grounds of insufficient evidence and ask for more information."

The presiding judge denied Mr Noye's request to question a British police officer present, but invited him to make a statement.

"What were they [the police] doing?" Mr Noye asked. "They issued no arrest warrant for two years and three months, then arrested me on an illegal identification. All I'm asking is for the judges to be fair and reasonable. If one of them was an English person sitting in a restaurant and police were looking for a dark-haired, much younger man..." At this point the judge cut him off, saying this was in his defence statement.

"There's nothing more then. Thank you very much," Mr Noye said, and sat down.

Mr Murillo, who is involved in Spain's case against the former Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet, in London, later claimed outside the courtroom that British courts were demanding vast quantities of detailed evidence as part of extradition proceedings against the general. "We should do the same for Noye," he said.

After the hearing Detective Inspector Dennis McGookin said: "We are pleased with the way the proceedings have gone and we await the judgment of the court."

If the judges find for extradition, Mr Noye will be allowed to appeal within three days.