The Irish police are sending five police officers to Australia to carry out the extradition of an Irishman facing charges of obtaining property by false pretenses and ripping off just $50,000.
Vincent O’Donoghue has lived Down Under since 2002, and an extradition warrant was issued in 2005. His bail was taken back in 2009, and he has been in custody in Perth since then.
The alleged offenses that police say he carried out occurred 12 years ago. Authorities did question him about them in August 2001, but he was later released.
Since he has been in custody in Australia, his wife and four children have experienced serious financial difficulty.
“I just can't understand it -- they've spent millions on this extradition case so far, and you would think that five senior gardai had better things to do than come to Australia to collect me when I have no criminal record of any kind. The only thing against me is that I am bankrupt and that's not uncommon in Ireland today," said O'Donoghue, according to the Irish Independent.
"As far as I am concerned, they'd be much better off going down the street in Dublin where there are plenty of bankers and developers who have destroyed the economy."
O'Donoghue, a former solicitor,says the amount involved is about $50,000 and he claims there is a political motivation behind the extradition process and that he is being singled out. He also maintains that the alleged activity is not criminal and that he is unlikely to get a fair trial due to the time lapse between the alleged offenses.
In the late '90s, O’Donoghue was involved in property sales in Northern Ireland. As a result of authorities receiving two complaints that he allegedly accepted deposits for an asset he did not have the right to sell, authorities interviewed him in Mountjoy Square in August 2001. In October of the same year, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions received a file about the case.
In June 2002, the DPP issued a warrant for his arrest. They received their first complaint about him back in 1998, but they say the complex nature of this particular case caused the delay before the issue of the arrest warrant in 2002.
O’Donoghue is currently suing the PSNI for wrongful arrest and claims the Gardai are helping them by pursuing his extradition back to Ireland. The DPP has denied this.
O’Donoghue has taken out an injunction against his extradition, arguing he won’t receive a fair trial in Ireland. Though Brendan O’Connor, the Australian Federal Minister, has approved the extradition order, the matter is still under judicial review as a result of the injunction.