Last week the extradition hearing for accused drug trafficker Gary Seawell began in the Magistrate’s Court. Gary Seawell and his brother Mark face charges of large-scale drug operation and criminal enterprise in the U.S. state of Ohio in the 1990’s and are being represented by the same attorney, Arthur Saldivar. Last week Mr Saldivar attacked the validity of the documents presented by the U.S. in support of the extradition request and today before Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith it was more of the same. He explains.
Arthur Saldivar –Attorney At Law:
The main basis of the argument was that the documents presented were not what they purported to be, because it did not bear on code, which is the requirement by law, to have the maker of the statement appreciate the fact that you’re under the duty to tell the truth, that it would not be properly characterized as depositions or affidavits.The requirement must be fulfilled. The extradition does not negate the need for the documents to be what they are purported to be. The extradition process does not in any way allow for a laxness in the procedural requirements. And where a document is presented to the court it must be a judicial document, a document that the court is capable of examining. It was the requirement of the notary public receiving the information to establish on the face of the document that the person giving it appreciates the fact that they were under duty to tell the truth and if they gave willingly statements that were false, that they were susceptible to the penalty of perjury. Now, in none of the documents is this so articulated, so the court is left with a very dubious and ambiguous situation where they cannot determine with any certainty whether or not the persons who gave the statements, from the investigators on down, actually recognized the duty that they had to tell the truth.
Arthur Saldivar says that the United States failed to establish the validity of the documents by a simple notation that would show that the depositor was aware of his or her obligation to tell the truth and the consequences for not telling the truth. Government Counsel Illiana Swift insisted that the documents were in fact properly authenticated with the seal of the U.S. State Department and the execution of a judge’s signature and the court need not look beyond that, only at whether what it is in the bundle would establish the case against Mr Seawell. But there is no case, Mr Saldivar said, if the material provided does not come under the statutory exception for depositions – meaning it is still as much hearsay as anything else. He discusses what it could mean for the case against his client and brother Mark.
Arthur Saldivar –Attorney At Law:
The main situation is that there is a timeframe within which we should make the challenge. I was not there at the beginning of the Mark Seawell proceedings. I am hopeful that the injustice would be clearly seen now, given that the objections are being made here, and ventilated now, that it would be seen there also, because it’s the same set of documents anyway. But I wasn’t there at the beginning, so I wasn’t in a position to make the challenge at that time.
Gary Seawell has one other pending matter that would be a bailable offence. The case comes up for decision on October 21, while a decision is due any day now for Mark Seawell in the Supreme Court.