UK child sex fugitive can’t make extradition case ‘magically disappear’ - prosecutor

2017-10-13 17:23
UK fugitive Lee Tucker (right) with a supporter, and his legal team in the background outside the Cape Town Magistrate's Court (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

UK fugitive Lee Tucker (right) with a supporter, and his legal team in the background outside the Cape Town Magistrate's Court (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - Fugitive Lee Tucker, who is wanted in the UK on 42 charges relating to paedophilia, has been on the run for over 15 years, but "can’t run away" from the fact that he must face the music in his country, the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court heard on Friday.

Advocate Christopher Burke, for the State, argued that Tucker was liable for extradition and that there was sufficient evidence to warrant his prosecution in the United Kingdom.

"He seems to believe, somehow, that it is going to magically disappear. It’s not going to go away. And he cannot resolve it in South Africa. He has to go back."

Tucker was arrested in March 2016, after a provisional arrest request from the UK.

Last year, he was declared a fugitive from justice.

Tucker was originally sentenced to eight years in prison by the Swindon Crown Court, South Wales, in 2001, but the sentence was overturned on a technicality and his retrial on 42 child sex charges was ordered.

His offences are alleged to have occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s and were detected as being part of a paedophile ring in Bristol in 1998.

Part of his bail conditions include wearing a monitoring bracelet around his ankle, remaining at his Sea Point residence, and reporting to a police station daily.

Burke told Magistrate Victor Mhlanga that Tucker had not raised any defence over the years.

"The reason can obviously only be that he has no defences."

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He handed up an original certificate from the UK authorities, in terms of the Extradition Act, that was received through diplomatic channels.

"This document proves there is sufficient evidence to warrant his prosecution. It is conclusive proof. It settles the issue. There can be nothing else to decide or say," said Burke.

If the court chose not to rely on the certificate, Burke said there was a court order that Tucker be re-tried and an indictment drafted within a certain time.

"Indictments were drafted and warrants were issued. They only had to be issued for the prosecution to start."

Burke said it was in the interests of justice to deal with the matter expeditiously.

"These are terrible crimes."

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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