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04 Dec 2021

Man facing 39 counts of manslaughter over Essex migrant deaths has 'modest' means

Man facing 39 counts of manslaughter over Essex migrant deaths has 'modest' means

Man facing 39 counts of manslaughter over Essex migrant deaths has 'modest' means

A Northern Irish man, who is alleged to have delivered the trailer in which 39 Vietnamese nationals were found dead last month, is of "modest means", the High Court heard on Monday morning. 

The court also heard that Eamon Harrison (22) from Mayobridge, Co Down, who is facing 39 counts of manslaughter, will not be seeking bail. Mr Justice Donald Binchy granted an application for Mr Harrison to be have an additional senior counsel represent him.

This morning’s hearing follows on from an earlier court appearance on November 1 after the endorsement of a European Arrest Warrant for Mr Harrison. On that day, Sgt Jim Kirwan told the court there are 41 offences in the European Arrest Warrant for Mr Harrison including 39 manslaughter charges, one of conspiracy to commit human trafficking and one of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

The UK authorities allege that Mr Harrison delivered the trailer, in which the 39 people were found dead, to a Belgian port before its onward journey to Britain, the court previously heard.

Tony McGillicuddy BL, instructed by Paul Tiernan Solicitors, told the court on November 1 that the warrant may give rise to a potential Section 44 of the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003 "coming into play".

The barrister said this is a “difficult section” of the act and added that it had to be considered in the case of Ian Bailey whose extradition to France was refused.

The section, which states that a person cannot be surrendered if the offence in the arrest warrant was committed in a place other than the issuing state, was found to be an "absolute bar" to the extradition of Mr Bailey.

On November 1, Mr Justice Binchy also set November 21st as a hearing date.

This morning, Mr Tony McGillicuddy BL told Mr Justice Binchy that he had an affidavit containing Mr Harrison’s draft points of objection and that this has been provided to the Director of Public Prosecution. He indicated that the issues relate to the "contents of the warrant" and "conflicts" that Mr Harrison is arguing on the face of the warrant.

Mr McGillicuddy also told the court that no application for bail for Mr Harrison is being made. The barrister said a statement of Mr Harrison’s “modest” means has also been put before the judge. Mr McGillicuddy also made an application for an additional senior counsel to represent Mr Harrison and the judge granted this, noting that he is familiar with the Ian Bailey decision.

The junior counsel also told the judge that while Mr Harrison’s points of objection have been put before the court, they will be “formally filed and formally served on the State” no later than 1pm this Friday.

Elva Duffy BL, for the State, confirmed that the DPP has received Mr Harrison’s draft points of objection.

Mr Justice Binchy told the court that Mr Harrison’s hearing date will remain as November 21.

However, he acknowledged that Mr McGillicuddy had flagged to him that there will probably be limitations as to what can be done on that date.

At the last hearing the court heard that on October 23 Essex Police received a call from the East of England Ambulance Service stating they were getting reports of illegal immigrants not breathing within a lorry in the area of Eastern Avenue, Waterglade Industrial, West Thurrock, Essex.

It later emerged there were 39 people, eight females and 31 males, all deceased in the lorry’s trailer unit.

Mr Harrison appeared in court this morning wearing grey tracksuit pants, a grey tracksuit jumper and a dark green collared t-shirt.

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