Two Northern Irishmen to be extradited over Vietnamese truck deaths

By Reuters   June 13, 2020 | 08:00 am GMT+7
Two Northern Irishmen to be extradited over Vietnamese truck deaths
Police are seen at the scene where bodies were discovered in a truck container, in Grays, Essex, Britain October 23, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Peter Nicholls.

Two Northern Irishmen are set to be extradited to Britain to face manslaughter charges over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese found in a truck near London last year.

Ireland’s High Court approved the handover to Britain of Ronan Hughes, 40, on charges of manslaughter and immigration offenses on Friday.

A separate court dismissed an appeal against extradition by Eamonn Harrison, 23, who also faces human trafficking charges.

The discovery of the bodies in the back of a refrigerated truck highlighted how poor citizens of Asia, Africa and the Middle East pay large sums to middlemen to make perilous, illicit journeys to the West.

Northern Irish truck driver Maurice Robinson pleaded guilty to 39 counts of manslaughter related to the deaths in March.

The victims, 31 men and boys and eight women whose ages ranged from 15 to 44, were discovered in October in a container at the back of a truck driven by Robinson to an industrial estate in Grays in Essex, about 30 km east of London.

Ireland’s High Court heard that U.K. authorities allege that Hughes organized the drivers and travel. They also alleged in a separate case last year that Harrison delivered the trailer in which the people were found to a Belgian port before its onward journey to Britain.

Irish broadcaster RTE reported that Hughes asked to be handed over to the U.K. authorities as soon as possible.

Neither Harrison nor Hughes have yet to enter a plea in relation to the substance of the allegations as their hearings have only concerned extradition.

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