Mastermind of UK lorry migrant deaths to be extradited from Ireland


The extradition to the UK of Ronan Hughes, the Irish national who helped organise a human trafficking operation that left 39 Vietnamese migrants dead in a lorry, has been approved by an Irish court on Friday, June 12.

The tragedy which made headlines around the world has left 31 men and eight women dead inside a refrigerated truck in an industrial zone east of London in October 2019.

“This court will make an order … for the surrender of the respondent (Ronan Hughes) to the UK,” said judge Paul Burns at Dublin’s criminal court.

Forty-year-old Hughes had been detained on a European arrest warrant on 39 counts of manslaughter and one count of conspiracy to commit unlawful immigration.

Hughes had “organised and controlled the drivers”, the court heard previously.

The container arrived in England on a ferry from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge and British authorities have charged numerous truck drivers in a giant investigation.

Hughes wore a hooded jumper and a face mask in court and remained silent as the judge delivered his decision from behind a Perspex barrier.

His legal team had objected to the extradition, claiming there were ambiguities over the territory where the alleged offences occurred and Britain’s claim to jurisdiction.

“I find no such ambiguity,” said Burns.

He said “conspiracy may transcend national borders” and cited post-mortem evidence that the migrants had died after the container they were stowed inside entered British waters.

“I am satisfied as set out on the basis of the facts in the warrant … the offences, if committed, were in fact committed in the UK,” Burns added.

Hughes had made it known he wished to be surrendered to British authorities “as soon as possible”, state counsel Ronan Kennedy said.

Remanded in custody, Hughes is due to be transported to Britain within ten days of the surrender order coming into effect on Monday. (Source: CNA)