US Court: Cayman ‘fugitive’ committed for extradition

A U.S. federal court last week ordered that a Cayman Islands track coach be committed for extradition on indecent assault and other criminal charges.

Ato Modibo Stephens, 37, now awaits the final decision of the U.S. secretary of state on his extradition. Those orders are typically granted in accordance with court rulings in such cases.

Stephens faces two charges of indecent assault, one charge of gross indecency and one charge of misuse of an Information and Communications Technology Authority network in relation to an underage female. Cayman Islands prosecutors charged him with those offenses in June, but court records state that Stephens had left the jurisdiction in February when he became aware police were informed of the accusations against him.

The case ended up before the U.S. court in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) for extradition proceedings after Stephens was arrested there in August on the Cayman charges.

The British government sought to extradite Stephens to Cayman via a long-standing treaty it maintains with the U.S.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman ruled on Dec. 27 that the government had probable cause, based on evidence provided by the British and Caymanian authorities, to justify Stephens’s extradition.

“The evidence before this court is sufficient to justify the fugitive’s committal for trial, on felony charges, had the offenses … occurred in the United States,” Magistrate Goodman wrote in a four-page decision on the matter.

Stephens’s extradition was certified on all four counts, according to the court records. Stephens’s attorney had argued that one of the offenses – the misuse of an ICTA network – had no analogous charge in the U.S., but the court rejected that defense.

Stephens has been surrendered to the custody of U.S. marshals pending the secretary of state’s final decision.

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