Scot wins UK Supreme Court extradition battle over tweets about US companies

The UK Supreme Court has halted the extradition of a Scottish man wanted by the United States over a £1.2m fraud.

Five senior judges found James Craig's human rights had been breached because a legal measure which could have helped him had not been introduced in Scotland.

Following a request by the Scottish government, Westminster did not bring in a ruling north of the border allowing an extradition to be blocked if a trial could take place in the UK.

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The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused Mr Craig of tweeting false information about two American companies in 2013, costing investors $1.6m.

Court victory: James Craig won his fight to overturn an extradition order.Court victory: James Craig won his fight to overturn an extradition order.
Court victory: James Craig won his fight to overturn an extradition order.

He was alleged to have made $97 by buying shares at a lower price and then reselling them. He later repaid the cash plus $120 interest and maintains he did nothing wrong.

Mr Craig, from Dunragit near Stranraer, has always denied any wrongdoing and challenged his extradition.

The extradition process against Mr Craig began in 2017, three years after detectives searched his house at the request of the FB. A warrant for his arrest was issued by the SEC in 2015.

If Mr Craig lived elsewhere in the UK, he could have opposed his extradition on the grounds of "forum bar” and stood trial in this country.

The UK government introduced the measure in 2013 following the case of Gary McKinnon, a Glasgow computer hacker who successfully fought extradition to the US.

However, the Scottish government asked that it should not apply, citing concerns it would interfere with the independence of Scottish prosecutors.

Following a legal challenge by Mr Craig in 2018, the Court of Session declared that the UK government had acted unlawfully by failing to introduce forum bar in Scotland.

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A sheriff then ruled that Mr Craig's extradition could still go ahead, a judgement backed by the Appeal Court.

The UK Supreme Court has now ruled that the failure to bring in the forum bar in Scotland had breached Mr Craig's human rights.

Announcing the decision, judge Lord Reed said: "The Supreme Court unanimously allows the appeal.

"A new extradition hearing may be held before a different sheriff, at which Mr Craig will be able to rely on the forum bar provisions in addition to any other arguments properly available to him."

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