Cartwright and Knowles v The Superintendant of Her Majesty’s Prison and The Government of the United States of America: PC 10 Feb 2004

PC (Bahamas) A warrant for extradition had been held to be void, and the prisoners released. It was argued that the US government had no right of appeal.
Held: Section 17(3) of the Court of Appeal Act was applicable. Lord Steyn said that ‘[t]he correct approach is to ask, against the relevant context, what the legal effect of the pronounced decision is.’ He concluded: ‘[The Court of Appeal’s] view [that in substance the judge had been making an order for certiorari] is reinforced by the judge’s conclusion that ‘I find that the orders of committal are void’. The judge was in effect making a declaration that the orders of committal were void. From that decision it followed that the state was no longer entitled to detain the applicants. The judge had based his decision on judicial review. Accordingly there was a right of appeal against the critical order.’
The dissenting minority said: ‘Even if the judge (contrary to his express statement) is to be treated as having made an order of certiorari, we do not see how that helps the applicants. That only means that he made two orders: a deemed order of certiorari and an actual order that habeas corpus should issue. The applicants may have been entitled to appeal against the first. But that does not enable them to set aside the order for release unless they can also appeal against the second.’


Lord Steyn, Sir John Roch and Sir Swinton Thomas, Lord Hoffmann and Lord Rodger of Earlsferry dissenting


[2004] UKPC 10, [2004] 1 WLR 902


Bailii, PC, PC, PC

Cited by:

OverruledGibson v United States of America PC 23-Jul-2007
(The Bahamas) The US government sought the extradition of the appellant from the Bahamas on drugs charges. The warrants were found to be void, and the defendant released unconditionally, when the nmagistrate rejected evidence from an admitted . .
See AlsoSamuel Knowles, Junior v United States of America and Another PC 24-Jul-2006
(The Bahamas) The respondent sought the extradition of the appellant to face drugs charges. The appellant said that if extradited, he would not receive a fair trial, having been declared publicly by the US President to be a drugs ‘kingpin’.
See AlsoKnowles and others v Superintendent of HM Prison Fox Hill and others PC 23-Mar-2005
(Bahamas) The claimants resisted requests for their extradition to the US on drugs charges. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Extradition, Litigation Practice

Updated: 10 June 2022; Ref: scu.193877