Man fights Austria extradition over theft of rhino horns

John Quilligan from Rathkeale accused of stealing horns €300,000

John Quilligan (31) of Roches Road in Rathkeale is wanted by Austrian prosecutors investigating the theft of rhino horns

John Quilligan (31) of Roches Road in Rathkeale is wanted by Austrian prosecutors investigating the theft of rhino horns

Wed, Jul 10, 2013, 19:25

A Limerick man appeared in the High Court today fighting extradition to Austria, where he faces prosecution in connection with the theft of rhinoceros horns.

John Quilligan (31) of Roches Road in Rathkeale is wanted by Austrian prosecutors investigating the theft of the horns, which are estimated to be worth €300,000 on the black market.

Arguing against his extradition, Remy Farrell SC, told the court that there was no evidence that a decision had been made to try his client in Austria.

He said the case was in the investigative or pre-trial stage there and that it was up to the Austrian prosecutor to decide whether to press charges. He also said that pre-trial proceedings take place in private in Austria.

However, he said that the nub of the case was that it could not be said that a decision had been taken to charge his client, something required by the law.

He said the relevant act required a decision to have been made, not that a decision probably would be made.

He read from an affidavit by a solicitor in Austria. He said that this stated that a decision had not been made to charge or try his client.

“Intent in the future is not the same as a decision having been made,” he added.

Mr Farrell further argued that it was still open to the Austrian authorities to have his client interviewed here in the context of mutual assistance.

The State is due to argue its case in favour of extradition tomorrow morning.

Mr Justice John Edwards remanded Mr Quilligan on continuing bail until then.