Dunham's Extradited to the United States
The Dunhams were extradited to Maryland, US on 22nd May 2014. They had their first bail hearing at a court in Greenbelt outside Washington DC on Tuesday 27 May. Bail was refused. Their lawyers have filed the attached Motion by way of an appeal of this bail decision. The hearing is due later in June.
The hearing took place on 29th June. Thanks to three invaluable components: expert lawyers; an amazing couple living in North Carolina, who as close friends agreed to take the Dunhams into their custody until trial; and third an understanding judge who was prepared to listen to the evidence, the Dunhams were eventually granted bail and left jail for their new house arrest across the state border.
However, their ordeal continues – without the ability to earn money, they are reliant on the goodwill of their friends. The British government will not fund Paul's diagnosed medical needs, and nor with the US – this is yet another appalling consequence of improper and untimely extradition. Their trial is set for 2nd December, by which time they will have been in the US for over 6 months and a month of that separated in custody – why extradite before a country is trial ready?
ECtHR DISMISSES DUNHAMS' APPEAL AGAINST US EXTRADITION
- Dunhams Rule 39 Application to European Court of Human Rights is dismissed
- They have now exhausted all avenues of appeal
- Will be extradited to US within 28 days - awaiting notification of date from Home Office
- Paul Dunham (58) accused of overclaiming expenses from a US company PACE Inc of which Paul was Chief Executive/President and a 20% shareholder
- Sandra Dunham (57) is accused of aiding and abetting her husband
- Dunhams vehemently contend expenses were wholly legitimate business expenses incurred in the course of their employment, agreed to by then Chairman and signed off by the finance director and company auditors
- Dunhams ask why they would rip-off a company in which they were significant shareholders
Last night the European Court faxed confirmation to Kaim Todner, the Dunhams' solicitors, that the Acting President of the Section of the Court has decided not to indicate to the Government of the United Kingdom that they should not extradite the Dunhams, following their Rule 39 Application.
This means that the Government of the United Kingdom from today can arrange for the Dunhams' imminent extradition to the United States of America, which must take place within 28 days.
Paul Dunham says:
Sandra and I are simply devastated. In fact we're disgusted. The High Court recently ruled that an alleged terrorist will not be extradited to America without specific assurances as to his medical treatment. Yet Sandra and I, both honest, hardworking British tax-payers all our lives, now suffering from acute mental health problems, are being parcelled off without a thought for our welfare. We are heartbroken at being forced to leave behind my aged father, our son, our beloved 5 grandchildren and our cherished two dogs. We are innocent of any wrongdoing but no British court will hear our evidence.
We're both approaching 60 and our future is separation from each other, locked up a truly grim former Supermax prison, for an undisclosed period of pre-trial detention. We don't have money to secure bail. This is before any court has examined our defence. How did Britain become so unjust?
Michael Evans, of Kaim Todner Ltd, the Dunhams' solicitor, says:
The treatment being meted out to the Dunhams is brutal - whilst politicians of all seniority and political persuasion wring their hands saying there's nothing they can do to stop the bulldozer that is US extradition. It's a sad day for justice.
Background^ back to top
Paul and Sandra Dunham are a couple in their late 50s from Northampton who are the latest British citizens to find themselves embroiled in the nightmare of extradition to the US –in this case over an employment-related dispute that should never have become a criminal case.
They vehemently contest the allegations as baseless, but given the way the UK/US system of extradition is set up, innocence is no barrier to the extradition of British citizens.
Despite many letters from both the Dunhams and their MP to David Cameron and Theresa May to date neither have had the common decency to respond in person.
When will our government wake up?
Download the Dunhams proof of evidence:
The Dunham's Careers^ back to top
Paul was Chief Executive/President and 20% shareholder of PACE, a US company manufacturing soldering irons for the electronics industry. In an example of the numerous distortions written in the US Indictment which supports the US extradition request, the Department of Justice categorises PACE's activity as “producing for the military”. In fact, of all the soldering equipment manufactured and sold by PACE, a company of some 55 years standing, less than 10% was sold to the military.
Paul had given 30 loyal years of service to PACE and, as a significant shareholder, his interest in the future success of the company was as great as anyone's.
Sandra, Paul's wife was employed by the company's UK arm, PACE Europe.
Background to the Dispute^ back to top
PACE was initially set up by the late William Siegel, who gave his three children roles in the running of the company for a period of time. Two left, whilst their brother Eric continued to maintain a keen interest in the assets of the business. However, having put Eric in charge of the US business, it became clear to William Siegel that the company was running into difficulties. So Siegel Senior asked Paul Dunham to transfer from the UK to the US to guide Eric in turning around the company's fortunes.
So in 2000, Paul and Sandra agreed to relocate to the US, for Paul to oversee Eric, on the basis that William Siegel would ensure the company funded all their relocation costs and relevant living expenses.
In time William determined that it would be in the best interest of the company for his son, Eric, to step aside. Eric had a spectacular falling out with his father as a result. Paul alleges in his sworn statement of proof to the UK court in the extradition proceedings, that Eric warned Paul that if he supported his father's removal of him he would take revenge. It appeared that Eric wrongly perceived Paul as having been a contributor to Eric's demise.
Following William's near-death experience in 2007, father and son reconciled and Eric succeeded in assuming control of the company with his father's support. Over the following 2 years, according to the court filings, it was clear that Paul, the management and Board of Directors were encumbered by Eric's decision-making. During this time, and apparently out of nowhere, both Paul and Sandra's salaries were cut by 40% by Eric. In May 2009, with Paul having tried hard to keep the company going despite Eric, which caused both he and his wife enormous stress, Paul and Sandra both resigned and returned to the UK, seeking professional medical help.
Expenses Claims^ back to top
Shortly after the Dunham's resignation, Eric saw fit to try to claim that the Dunhams had improperly claimed expenses from the company and sued them in a court in North Carolina. Notwithstanding the fact according to the Dunhams, all expenses claimed had always been authorised and paid to them by the company's accountant, and all the books audited by professional advisors and signed off by William Siegel each year. Yet without the funds to defend themselves, the US court found in Eric/PACE's favour. This appears to have emboldened Eric into turning a civil matter into a criminal complaint over which the DoJ is now demanding the Dunham's extradition.
Far from assisting the Dunhams, the UK government is using UK taxpayers' money to fund a highly-qualified barrister to represent the US in court against the Dunhams. However when the Dunhams themselves first requested the same level of legal advice through legal aid, they were told they did not need the services of a barrister to defend their case! So much for equality of arms.
Eric, via PACE, via the DoJ, is trying to claim that Sandra aided and abetted her husband's wrongful expenses claims, and by using their money overseas, astonishingly the charges have been characterised by the DoJ as money laundering!
Mental Strain^ back to top
Fighting for fairness and truth took its toll on both Paul and Sandra's mental health and wellbeing until they determined they could battle no more. In fact, days after his return to the UK, Paul suffered a mini stroke and both he and Sandra continue to have hospital treatment to this day.
Terrible Consequences ^ back to top
Sadly, in what should be the twilight of their highly successful careers, the Dunhams are now bankrupt, have considerable mental and physical health concerns, and for the past 2 years have been fighting the vindictive nature of the allegations. It's a Kafka-esque nightmare from which there appears to be little escape.
On 6 February 2014, the Dunhams will have their appeal against extradition heard by the High Court.
How you can help^ back to top
This unfolding tragedy sounds almost impossible to believe – so imagine the frustration felt by the Dunhams. If you are moved by their incredibly compelling story – please write to the Home Secretary, copying your MP, asking the following:
- Why can we not guarantee bail in the US for extradited British citizens. After all, they are on bail in the UK whilst challenging their extradition order – why should extradition mean automatic detention before they've had a chance to clear their name?
- Why does our extradition regime allow for extradition months or even years before trial? This allows for the prosecutors to hold all the cards – delaying the trial in order to put pressure on the defendant to plead as they're stuck in the US thousands of miles away from friends, family, work etc, desperate to put an end to their ordeal.
- Why cant we allow for use of video-link technology (commonplace in trials in the UK) to allow British defendants to appear in US pre-trial court hearings, and only be extradited days before trial, so that they attend trial in person.
- Why cant a British defendant test the evidence against them in a British court before being extradited? A US citizen wanted by the British prosecuting authorities can do just that – but we Brits can only appeal not on the evidence but on human rights law – and currently the Government is trying to take away our automatic right of appeal.
- Given the very severe impact on a defendant's mental well-being, as well as the total obliteration of a person's support network that is inherent in extradition, how can the British government justify even attempting to remove an automatic right to appeal an extradition. It's inhumane.
Remember, everyone is innocent until proven guilty – so why put British victims of extradition through such irreversible expense and trauma without at least ensuring some safeguards – such as those mentioned above?
Download the Dunhams proof of evidence: