Christopher Tappin makes first court appearance
Wednesday 29 February 2012
British businessman Christopher Tappin has made his first appearance in court after being extradited to the US.
Mr Tappin, who lost his two-year battle against being sent to America last week, faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted over arms dealing charges.
Last night he appeared for a five-minute preliminary hearing in the federal court in El Paso, Texas, and was remanded in custody to appear for a bail hearing on Friday.
Attorney General Dominic Grieve said his extradition had highlighted problems with the treaty between the UK and US, which are not "readily curable".
He warned that Britons were left uneasy when faced with the seemingly harsh and disproportionate sentences in the American justice system.
Mr Grieve said: "I think there's a lack of public confidence in the US justice system, which is a rather wider issue and more complicated than the minutiae of the treaty agreement.
"There are perceptions in this country that the US criminal justice system can be harsh, its penal policy can be harsh, and its sentencing policy can appear disproportionate by European and British standards.
"There are aspects of it therefore which tend to make people uncertain and uneasy, and I'm not sure that that's readily curable."
Mr Grieve admitted the UK's extradition laws were not ideal, but said: "In a world where we wish to see crime successfully combated, having a system by which to facilitate transfer to countries which meet the necessary criteria of fairness so as to curb crime is absolutely indispensable."
Mr Grieve was speaking as he gave evidence to MPs yesterday, minutes after Mr Tappin's wife Elaine, 62, broke down in tears as she told them of her despair that nobody was prepared to listen to his defence before "carting him off".
Mrs Tappin told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee's review of extradition arrangements that her family felt "incredulity, frustration, heartrending sadness, despair and utter disbelief" as they faced a "wholly uncertain future".
In a written statement which she was unable to finish reading, Mrs Tappin went on: "At the heart of our despair is the fact that nobody was prepared to listen to Chris's defence before carting him off.
"They ticked the boxes but were deaf and blind to the possibility of injustice."
Mrs Tappin, of Orpington, Kent, said she had still not been able to talk to her husband since he was extradited and he was being held in isolation, "locked up for 23 hours a day".
She said it was the "cruellest blow" when her husband lost his battle against extradition, saying he "was stunned and totally devastated when his appeal was rejected".
Just last week she tearfully accompanied her husband to Heathrow Airport, before he was handcuffed and seated between two US marshals on a plane to America.
Mr Tappin, the president of the Kent Golf Union, denies attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles which were to be shipped from the US to Tehran via the Netherlands.
Human rights organisations have condemned his extradition while his MP, Tory Jo Johnson, and UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who has known the businessman for nearly 40 years, have asked Home Secretary Theresa May to intervene to ensure the US authorities do not object to bail when he appears in court on Friday.
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart bromance continues: X-Men star gushes about 'pussy cat' BFF Patrick Stewart
David Cameron stung by jellyfish: PM hurt after ignoring advice of locals while on holiday
South Korea ferry: Vice principal rescued from sinking ship found hanged
Hollande's affair: Catherine Deneuve and Sophie Marceau in war of words over President's relationship with Julie Gayet
Kim Jong-un, crowds and contraband: Inside North Korea with the the Pyongyang marathon winner
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 KFC 'sorry' after lesbian couple are kicked out of Bath restaurant for 'heavy petting'
- 2 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...