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Bringing speedboat killer Jack Shepherd back to Britain could take 'an age' unless Georgian police hand him over, experts warn as he claims 'doesn't feel safe coming back to UK'

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 23/01/2019 David Barrett and Jack Boyle For The Daily Mail
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Bringing Jack Shepherd back from Georgia could take ‘an age’ unless he deliberately signs away his rights, experts said last night.

One London-based barrister said it was ‘very unlikely Georgia will give him back’ if the killer does not consent – raising the prospect of a drawn-out extradition battle.

Undated handout file video grab issued by the Metropolitan Police of Jack Shepherd who was convicted of killing his date © Press Association Undated handout file video grab issued by the Metropolitan Police of Jack Shepherd who was convicted of killing his date

While Shepherd’s lawyer in Tbilisi last night said he was reluctant to return to the UK because he ‘did not feel safe’ there.

Barrister Laura Herbert, of Charter Chambers, said: ‘It is very unlikely Georgia will give him back. I think it might be quite tricky. There is the possibility he’s acting very cynically here.

a person sitting at a table: Jack Shepherd , the speedboat killer who has been on the run, hands himself over to police in Tbilisi, Georgia © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Jack Shepherd , the speedboat killer who has been on the run, hands himself over to police in Tbilisi, Georgia

‘He has travelled far away, quite close to somewhere we don’t have a good relationship with and a political and judicial system probably not quite as upstanding as our own. 

'If he had really wanted to come back, he would have selected a country where we have firm extradition arrangements.’

A spokesman for the Extradition Lawyers Association said: ‘I would imagine it will take an age. Unless he consents to extradition, it will largely depend on political will.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Jack Shepherd leaving the Old Bailey before going on the run © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Jack Shepherd leaving the Old Bailey before going on the run ‘There is very little extradition to or from Georgia. It happens very, very seldom and I can’t think of a single case. 

'In terms of how long it would take, I would say it would be a very lengthy process unless the defendant consents to be extradited or he is deported as a result of his visa being revoked.’

Shepherd’s lawyer in Georgia told the BBC that he had expressed concerns about coming to Britain.

a close up of a man: Shepherd pictured today in Tblisi © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Shepherd pictured today in Tblisi ‘He told us Jack contacted him asking for legal aid and they both came to this police station to turn himself in,’ its reporter said. ‘He also told his lawyer that he doesn’t feel safe going back to the UK.’

Britain does not have a specific extradition treaty with Georgia. Instead, the process will rely on the 1957 European Convention on Extradition, amended to include Georgia in 2002.

The Home Office’s international criminality unit will forward a request to Georgia through UK diplomats in the capital Tbilisi. If local authorities agree, British police will travel to collect Shepherd and bring him back. 

a woman posing for a picture: Charlotte Brown, who died aged 24, on a date on a speedboat with Jack Shepherd on the Thames in 2015 © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Charlotte Brown, who died aged 24, on a date on a speedboat with Jack Shepherd on the Thames in 2015

A Home Office source suggested Shepherd could be back in the UK in weeks but admitted it could take longer. ‘It all depends on whether he agrees to extradition or not, in terms of how quickly it takes,’ the source said.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘We await formal confirmation that Jack Shepherd has handed himself into the authorities in Georgia, but if this is confirmed it is welcome news that he has finally done what he should have done a long time ago and taken responsibility for his actions. 

a close up of a person: While Shepherd’s lawyer in Tbilisi last night said Shepherd (pictured) was reluctant to return to the UK because he ‘did not feel safe’ there © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited While Shepherd’s lawyer in Tbilisi last night said Shepherd (pictured) was reluctant to return to the UK because he ‘did not feel safe’ there I hope that he does nothing to frustrate or delay his return to the UK and that he faces the justice he deserves as quickly as possible.’

Shepherd is likely to face a further criminal charge for fleeing the country while on bail.

Sentencing guidelines say that, in crown court cases where ‘failure to surrender represents a deliberate attempt to evade or delay justice’, the heaviest penalties can be handed down when breaching bail ‘results in substantial delay and/or interference with the administration of justice’.

Judges are given a starting point of imposing a six-week imprisonment rising to a maximum term of six months.

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