The Last Chance for Mark Seawell?
Mark Seawell is not headed home tonight, but the Supreme Court has opened a lifeline in his long-running extradition case. With his brothers Gary and Duane, he has been fighting to avoid extradition to Ohio, U.S.A., to face charges of ran a marijuana and cocaine business involving so-called “shoe mules” between 1994 and 1997 in Cancun and Belize. Duane was the first to be captured and is serving a prison sentence. However, Gary was released last year by the Court of Appeal on the basis of a defective committal warrant. This morning, as reported by Seawell’s attorney Bryan Neal and Solicitor General Nigel Hawke, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has agreed to hear new evidence relating to the original warrant against Mark Seawell that may put an end to his time in prison. Seawell’s attorney is relying on the arguments used in the case of Gary to get Mark off the hook.
Nigel Hawke, Solicitor General
“The ruling this morning is that the Court has exercised its discretion to re-open the hearing, the habeas corpus application that Mister Seawell made, so as to deal with the issue that they raised in relation to the committal warrant. Those arguments will be heard, possibly on the thirty-first of March; the court has given directions in relation to filing of submissions and further affidavits.”
“Has the court described its reasons for allowing the application, sir?”
“Basically the court has a discretion – and we’re all in agreement that the court has a discretion to exercise its discretion to re-open or not; it has exercised its discretion to re-open, so we move now to the substantive arguments.”
Bryan Neal, Attorney for Mark Seawell
“I have asked, because Mister Seawell is also represented by Ben Cooper, who lives and resides in the United Kingdom – so we are hoping that Mr. Cooper will come; he has said that he can come in May but the Chief Justice has said he wants to deal with it earlier; so hopefully he can be here for those dates so that he can make the application in front of the Chief Justice.”
“But if he is unable to make it you can carry through those arguments?”
“Well, we went to law school too, so I think so.”
“Sir, are you all sure that this is not just a Hail Mary attempt – that you all actually have solid grounds to actually make these further arguments on behalf of your client?”
“Attorneys don’t come to court to waste time. We are confident – sometimes you win, sometimes [you lose]; but in this case we are confident based on the warrant that was issued in the case of Mark Seawell; that it is the same set of circumstances, the same set of facts; the similar flaws in the warrant and we are hoping that the Chief Justice will consider the application and rule in our favour.”