Extradition bid on NI Essex lorry deaths suspect rushed, court told

A warrant issued to attempt to extradite a lorry driver wanted in connection with the deaths of 39 people in Essex was “rushed”, a court has heard.

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 4:33 pm
The 38 Vietnamese victims were found in a container in Essex last month

Eamonn Harrison, 22, from Mayobridge in Newry, Co Down, appeared today in Dublin’s Central Criminal Court regarding a European arrest warrant to have him transferred to the UK.

The court heard Harrison is sought in respect of 41 offences, 39 counts of manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, one count of a human trafficking offence and one count of assisting unlawful immigration.

Ronan Kennedy SC, appearing for the minister for justice, told the court that Harrison drove the lorry used to deliver a container to the port in Zeebrugge and was identified as the driver on CCTV in Belgium.

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He went on to tell Justice Binchy, presiding, that Harrison signed the shipping notice for the container, which was later found in Essex with the bodies of 39 people inside.

Eight women and 31 men, all Vietnamese nationals, were found in the refrigerated trailer in an industrial park in Grays in the early hours of October 23.

Defence for Harrison, Siobhan Stack SC, has raised a number of issues with the warrant for extradition. She said that where and when he committed his alleged offences is not listed. Justice Binchy gave both parties more time to seek additional information.