Warrant for former vet wanted in UK ‘fatally flawed’ due to Brexit, court hears
Oliver Lown facing multiple charges of sexual activity with animals, having extreme pornographic material
The warrant for a former vet wanted in the UK to face multiple charges of sexual activity with animals and of having extreme pornographic material is “fatally flawed” due to Brexit, his legal team have told the High Court on Friday.
Oliver Lown (35), with an address at Main Road, Kesgrave, Suffolk, is wanted by authorities in the United Kingdom to face 12 offences, which also include making indecent images of children.
Barrister for Mr Lown, Mr Kieran Kelly BL, told the High Court on Friday that while the warrant for Mr Lown was issued in December of last year, it was only endorsed by Irish courts in January of this year, after Brexit, and that his client’s arrest was not until February.
Mr Kelly told Mr Justice Paul Burns that the EU arrest warrant system relating to the UK is, as of December 31st, 2020, now underpinned by the provisional UK-EU Trade & Co-operation Agreement, which has an “opt-in” clause that Ireland has not yet signed up to, making the warrant for Mr Lown “fatally flawed”.
The warrant states that 1,219 extreme pornographic images, of which 1,067 are unique, were recovered from the hard drive of Mr Lown’s laptop as well as 3,512 extreme pornographic videos, of which 3,511 are unique. Other images recovered include 66 category A indecent images of which 43 are unique, 36 category B indecent images of which 26 are unique and 33 category C indecent images of which 23 are unique.
The warrant also states that Mr Lown is charged with offences including sexual penetration per vagina/anus by a person with a living animal, making indecent photographs of children and possessing extreme pornographic images portraying an act of intercourse/oral sex with a dead /alive animal.
Mr Kelly also argues that the warrant is also “fundamentally flawed” because it was issued by Ipswich Magistrate Courts but signed off on by a Crown Court judge, which he says does not satisfy the criteria of “total clarity and unambiguousness” regarding warrants. He further argues that a supplemental part of the warrant was then filled out by a UK prosecutor and not the appropriate authority.
Mr Lown was arrested by detectives from the Garda’s extradition unit earlier this month and taken to Letterkenny Garda Station following the endorsement of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by the police in Suffolk.
At a previous hearing, Detective Sergeant Jim Kirwan of the Garda Extradition Unit told Aoife Carroll BL, for the State, that he was on duty in Kilmacrenan in Co Donegal and called to an address at Gortnaskea, near Letterkenny, at 6.37pm on February 8th, where he arrested Mr Lown on foot of the warrant and cautioned him.
Det Sgt Kirwan said he introduced himself to Mr Lown and showed him his ID card. He said that Mr Lown agreed that his name was Oliver Lown and that one of the aliases he used was Ollie Fraser Henderson, while his place of birth was in Ipswich in the UK.
Outlining the offences facing Mr Lown, Det Sgt Kirwan said the warrant relates to 12 offences relating to images found on a PC laptop on April 4th, 2019 in Kesgrave in Suffolk. The detective said he read the precis [summary] of offences contained in the warrant to the respondent and asked him whether he knew what they were about, which Mr Lown indicated he did.
The warrant states that a PC Harvey accompanied by a probation officer attended a house on Main Street, Kesgrave, Suffolk, in the UK at 10.10am on April 4th, 2019. They were informed by the occupants that their son, Mr Lown, lived in the annexe above their garage with another man.
The warrant also stated that the other man is a registered sex offender and the purpose of the visit was to ascertain where he [the sex offender] was residing since he had not notified an address as per the Sex Offender Requirements.
The warrant further states that PC Harvey located Mr Lown in the annexe and a situation then unfolded whereby Mr Lown threw a laptop in a pond to evade its inspection by police and he was subsequently arrested on suspicion of possessing extreme pornography. Mr Lown was also arrested on the same date for perverting the course of justice and possession of heroin.
The laptop was submitted to the Digital Forensic Unit and forensic examination was completed on the extracted hard drive, which included 1,067 extreme pornographic images and 3,511 extreme pornographic videos.
The warrant also states that police attended Burrell Road, Ipswich, on August 29th, 2019, where Mr Lown was present. He was arrested on suspicion of making, taking, possessing and distributing indecent images of children. He was also arrested on suspicion of Class B drugs. He was interviewed and responded “no comment” to all questions asked.
The warrant states that police arranged to meet Mr Lown at Martlesham Police Investigation Centre on November 27, 2019. He did not attend, went missing and was circulated on the UK’s Police National Computer as “wanted”.
Today, Mr Justice Burns asked Mr Kelly to put his “intricate” submission in writing and said that the office of the Attorney General should be put on notice of anything arising from his submission that might be of interest to their office.
Mr Justice Burns adjourned the case to April 11 with Mr Kelly’s submission to be completed by March 3.