Michal Jagiellowicz v Regional Court in Elblag (Poland)

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
JudgeMrs Justice Thornton DBE,Mrs Justice Thornton
Judgment Date02 November 2023
Neutral Citation[2023] EWHC 2751 (Admin)
CourtKing's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
Docket NumberCase No: CO/3201/2022; AC-2022-LON-002403
Michal Jagiellowicz
Regional Court in Elblag (Poland)

[2023] EWHC 2751 (Admin)


The Hon. Mrs Justice Thornton DBE

Case No: CO/3201/2022; AC-2022-LON-002403




Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Mary Westcott (instructed by Birds) for the Appellant

Tom Cockroft (instructed by CPS) for the Respondent

Hearing date: 12 th October 2023

Approved Judgment

This judgment was handed down remotely at 14:00 on 2 nd November 2023 by circulation to the parties or their representatives by e-mail and by release to the National Archives.

THE HONOURABLE Mrs Justice Thornton DBE

Mrs Justice Thornton DBE Mrs Justice Thornton The Hon.



The Appellant appeals against the order, dated 2 September 2022, made by District Judge Zani, for his extradition to Poland. The order follows the issue of a European arrest warrant on 25 September 2020 by the Regional Court in Elblag, Poland, in relation to the activation of a suspended sentence of 1 year 6 months. The sentence was imposed for two offences of supplying drugs to a minor, in 2006, and fraud, in 2009, for which the Appellant was sentenced in February 2015. The Appellant is sought in relation to the partial non-payment of compensation which was a condition of the suspended sentence in relation to the fraud. On the information before the Court, the Appellant has complied with the sentence for the drugs offence.


The Appellant says the District Judge was wrong to order his extradition which is barred by virtue of section 21 Extradition Act 2003 as incompatible with his private and family life.

Factual background


The following background was common ground.


The Appellant is now 33 years old. In 2006, aged 17, he committed the first of the offences for which extradition is sought, namely the supply of marijuana to a minor. Information in the arrest warrant explains that in the period from May 2006 to June 2006 he gave marijuana to a minor in the amount of at least 2.5 grams.


No action was taken against him at the time. In 2008 – 2009 he moved to, and worked in, England before returning to Poland. In 2009, age 19, he committed the second offence for which extradition is sought, dishonestly obtaining a loan of 9,760 PLN from ING Bank by making a false written statement about his employment and wages.


Further information from the Polish Authorities indicates that an investigation into his offending was opened in March 2010 but no action had been taken by October 2010 when the Appellant returned again to the UK to work. He remained in the UK from 2010 – 2014 before being extradited to Poland in 2014 for a separate drugs offence (the supply of amphetamines), for which he served a 16 month prison sentence before being released on parole.


In February 2015, whilst still in prison, he pleaded guilty to the two offences for which extradition is sought. He was sentenced to a custodial term of 1 year 6 months, suspended for 4 years, on condition of supervision by the probation service in Poland and the payment of compensation. On his release from prison in March 2016, he reported to probation as required by the conditions of his suspended sentence.


On 8 June 2016, his daughter Alina was born in Poland. In July of the same year, he married his wife. In Autumn 2017, he left Poland and came, lawfully, to England, maintaining contact with the Polish probation service, as he was required to do so.


Payment of the compensation for the fraud was due by February 2019. By then, however, the Appellant had paid only one-third of the compensation, leaving two-thirds (approx. £1250) due for payment. On 28 March 2019, the court in Poland ordered the activation of the suspended sentence.


On 8 June 2019, his daughter Natalia was born in the UK. The Appellant applied to defer service of the prison term for family reasons until 10 March 2020. From the information available, it is unclear whether he also applied to defer payment of the compensation amount. In any event, no further payments were made.


On 11 March 2020, he was summonsed to surrender to custody for breach of the conditions of his suspended sentence, but failed to do so.


A warrant for his arrest was issued by the Regional Court in Elblag, Poland on 25 September 2020. He was arrested under that warrant on 29 December 2021 at his home address in Yorkshire. He was briefly detained in custody, for 2 – 3 days over the new year, and was then subject to an electronically monitored curfew for 3 months followed by weekly (and then fortnightly) reporting to the police station.


On 4 August 2022, an extradition hearing took place before the District Judge. Extradition was ordered on 2 September 2022.


The Appellant appealed. Permission to appeal was granted by Mr Justice Julian Knowles on the basis that it was arguable that the Appellant was not a fugitive and the District Judge's finding was wrong in this regard. If so, the Article 8 balancing exercise would need to be re-taken.


By an application notice dated 4 October 2023 the Appellant applied to adduce evidence to update the court on his family life since the hearing before the District Judge.

The ruling of the District Judge


Before the District Judge, the Appellant gave evidence. In relation to the offending, the Appellant said that when he was 17 he smoked marijuana with another boy about the same age as him for two months. The boy later reported it to the police, but the Appellant was never formally questioned about it. He accepted he made a false application for a bank loan by putting the stamp of a company on the application form, even though he was not working for them. In relation to his family life in the UK, he said he has a good job at a company assembling folding packages and works each weekday. He earns about £200 – £400 a week depending on the hours. He lives at home with his wife and children who are 3 and 4 years old. His wife receives universal credit, but the family rely on his income to pay the rent, bills and council tax. He said he plays an active part in family life and normally takes his daughters to and from school and cooks family meals and takes the children out at the weekend. His family will remain in the UK if he is extradited. They have settled status. He said he had given money to his mother to pay the compensation for him, but she had not done so.


In recording the Appellant's evidence in his ruling, the District Judge said he did not accept the entirety of it, in particular that the Appellant had given money to his mother to pay the compensation. It is to be inferred that the Judge did not question the other evidence given by the Appellant.


The Appellant's wife provided a written statement which was not challenged. She said that although she received benefits it would be very difficult to manage financially and to pay all the bills, council tax and rent in the event of extradition. The children are close to their father. She said she spoke almost no English so was reliant on the Appellant to help with matters like doctors' appointments and the children's schools.


In his ruling, the District Judge concluded that the Appellant was a fugitive having failed to surrender to custody on 11 March 2020. With regards to the Article 8 assessment exercise, the Judge directed himself on the law, as to which there is no challenge. He listed the factors said to be in favour of granting extradition and in favour of refusing extraction. In favour of extradition was the weighty public interest in the UK upholding its extradition obligations; the seriousness of the offending; and the fact that the Appellant was a fugitive from justice. The factors said to be against extradition were that the Appellant has been settled in the UK since 2017 in employment with fixed accommodation and a family. He has led a law-abiding life in the UK and he is not a fugitive. The District Judge considered extradition would not be a disproportionate interference for the following reasons:

“(i) It is very important for the UK to be seen to be upholding its international extradition obligations. The UK is not to be considered a ‘safe haven’ for those sought by other Convention countries either to stand trial or to serve a prison sentence.

(ii) In my opinion, the criminal conduct set out in the EAW is serious and, in the event of a conviction in the UK for like criminal conduct, a prison sentence may well be imposed.

(iii) This court finds that the requested person is a fugitive from justice. The reasons for this finding are set out above.

(iv) MJ is not a man of good character. As previously mentioned, he was previously extradited from the UK to Poland in November 2014 to serve a 2 year sentence for supplying controlled drugs (Amphetamines).

(v) It is appreciated that there will be hardship caused to MJ and to his wife and their children. However, that of itself is not sufficient to prevent an order for extradition from being made. I am satisfied that MJ's wife has appropriate access to UK benefits for herself and the children. She has the option, should she so choose, to return to Poland with the children.

(vi) As this court has found as a fact that MJ is a fugitive from justice, this finding brings paragraph 39 of the decision in Celinski above into consideration. I do not find that there are such strong counter-balancing factors as would render extradition Article 8 disproportionate in this case.

(vii) I take into account that there may well be some Brexit uncertainty for this requested person, were extradition to be ordered… However I do not find that such uncertainty tips the Article 8 balance sufficiently in favour of the requested person such as to make return Article 8 disproportionate.

(viii) I also take into...

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