Justice for Phillip Harkins - US extradition victim

Update. In January 2012, a chamber judgment by the European Court of Human Rights rejected Phillip Harkins' appeal against extradition to the US. In July the court rejected his request for a referral to its Grand Chamber. Phillip's legal team are now making further representations to the British Home Office. Phillip is still being held in prison in Britain.

Phillip Harkins
Phillip Harkins: US Extradition Victim
Phillip Harkins is a 32-year old Scottish man facing extradition to the US on a murder charge, as a result of allegedly shooting a man called Joshua Hayes by accident in Florida in the course of an alleged attempted robbery. Phillip denies any involvement in these events. There is no physical evidence linking him to the crime. The case against him rests on testimony provided as part of plea agreements.

Philip was arrested for extradition in February 2003 while still suffering from serious injuries as a result of car accident for which he was responsible. He was then taken to London, where he was denied proper medical treatment. For almost 6 months he had a jaw brace and wires in his mouth that were only supposed to be there for 6 weeks.

Phillip pleaded guilty to causing the car accident and was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. He completed that sentence on April 6, 2006 and extradition proceedings recommenced.

If convicted in the US, Phillip can only be given one of two penalties; death or life without the possibility of parole, even though the allegation against him is that he accidentally killed someone when he was under the age of 21. This is because he allegedly killed Joshua Hayes in the course of a felony - "felony murder" in US law.

Phillip was brought up in Scotland by his grandparents. At the age of 14 he went on holiday to visit his mother in Florida and decided to stay there with his mother and stepfather. On 11th August 1999 he was arrested in Florida on suspicion of the murder and attempted robbery of Joshua Hayes. On 22nd September 1999, he was notified that he would not be prosecuted for any involvement in the killing of Joshua Hayes. The case was re-opened in early 2000 on the basis of a plea agreement with a key witness, Terry Glover.

The State agreed not to charge Terry Glover with murder. In return, he agreed to plead guilty to the offences of robbery with a weapon and being an accessory after the fact to first degree murder. The agreement stated that the State's sentencing recommendation would be based upon him providing truthful testimony regarding the armed robbery of Joshua Hayes that resulted in the death of Joshua Hayes.

Plea bargains are a disgraceful and routine feature of US justice. In this case there was a further, extremely unusual, twist. It was agreed in the first of Glover's two plea agreements that any conversation that occurred as a result of Glover's co-operation would only be used against Phillip Harkins. None of the conversation would be used against Glover since he was willing to help without the benefit of counsel.

Throughout 2000 and 2001 Phillip attended all the court hearings in his case. In December 2001 he left the US and went back to Scotland. Following his involvement in a fatal road traffic accident he was arrested in connection with the Florida offence and extradition proceedings commenced.

"Guilty pleas resolve 97% of of US trials, an extraordinary statistic inevitably achieved by the defendant's apprehension of what lies ahead - not just for the 'worst of the worst' - and a desire to avoid, at any cost, the US law's most extreme application."
- Gareth Peirce (Dispatches from the Dark Side, Verso, 2010)

"...extraditees have come to understand that practice after practice is accepted as standard in America that, in Europe, could risk the prohibition of a trial, or if the trial took place, subsequently cause its nullification."
- Gareth Peirce (Dispatches from the Dark Side, Verso, 2010)

More information: US Extradition Victim

Write to Phillip Harkins

You can write to Phillip at:

Phillip Harkins
HMP Wandsworth
PO Box 757
Heathfield Road
SW18 3HS