US Murder Charge Scot Loses Extradition Legal Battle

10 July 2017, 10:35 | Updated: 10 July 2017, 11:59

European Court Human Rights Strasbourg

A British man wanted for murder in the US has lost his long-running legal battle against extradition.

Phillip Harkins, 38, has been fighting against his transfer to the US to face the charge since 2003 in what has been described as Britain's longest-running extradition case.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg rejected his final appeal on Monday.

Harkins had argued his extradition would violate articles three and six of the European Convention of Human Rights, relating to inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to a fair trial.

His lawyers said that if convicted in Florida he would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The court declared both complaints inadmissible and said its decision was final. It also ruled an interim measure in place to stay Harkins' extradition should be lifted.

Harkins, originally from Greenock, Inverclyde, was indicted for murder after Joshua Hayes was killed by a gunshot wound to the head during a robbery in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1999.

He denied any involvement and has contested his extradition since it was requested by US authorities in March 2003.

Harkins, who had been released on bail, returned to Scotland in 2002 but was jailed the following year for killing a woman in a road crash in Greenock.

After losing a number of attempts to block his extradition, he took his case to the European Court of Human Rights, where an initial appeal failed in 2012.

He successfully petitioned for a final hearing but the court ruled the complaints should be declared inadmissible as they were "substantially the same'' as those considered in 2012.