Rhett Fuller may get extradited to face murder charges Print E-mail
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Thursday, 11 August 2011 00:00

Rhett FullerRhett Allen Fuller, a 40 year-old, Belizean businessman, is inches closer to being extradited to Miami Dade County, Florida, United States, where he stands accused of committing the murder of Larry Miller on March 22nd, 1990. If the extradition order is carried out, Fuller faces several charges, one of them being murder in the first degree.

His appeal was heard before Lord Phillips, Lord Mance, Lord Clarke, Lord Hamilton, and Sir Henry Brook on April 11th and 12th, of this year. On Tuesday, August 9th, 2011, Lord Phillips delivered the Privy Council’s Judgment that his appeal was dismissed.

At the heart of Fuller’s appeal to the Privy Council, was that the Magistrate’s Court and the Supreme Court of Belize have the jurisdiction to entertain and challenge the extradition proceedings on the grounds of abuse of process. He contended that the delay in the process is a major factor in the extradition proceedings, and as a result, he applied for a writ of habeas corpus (the procedure by which the right to personal liberty is protected).

He took this application, for the writ to the Supreme Court, after he was granted leave to apply on May 5th, 1999. The Chief Justice sitting in the Supreme Court refused it in April 2002.

He was granted leave to appeal the Supreme Court’s decision to the Court of Appeals on May 2002; that appeal was filed the following day.

His case was not heard in the Court of Appeal until 6 years later; the Court of Appeals dismissed it on March 2009. He was then granted leave to appeal to the Privy Council on March 2nd, 2010.

An important aspect of the case, which all the courts: Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Privy Council, all agree on, is that no court has the jurisdiction to entertain a challenge to extradition based on abuse of process.

Abuse of process in the extradition process can only be considered by the Minister of Foreign Affairs when making the decision to accede to a request of extradition.

Now that his appeal has been dismissed by the Privy Council, Fuller’s attorney, Eamon Courtenay, has given a public statement that he has written Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs to ask what his decision will be. Courtenay continued that there are other legal options here in Belize for Fuller, and they intend to pursue them.

After Miller was shot in March 22nd, 1990, a warrant for Fuller’s arrest was issued the next day, but before he was apprehended, he left the US and came back to Belize. The Formal request for extradition was made by the US Embassy in Belize on August 17th, 1998

Since his arrival in Belize, Fuller has been able to engage in productive enterprise with the establishment of a productive woodwork enterprise hiring as many as 23 persons.