Court rules in favor of resident’s extradition to US

Ruling transmitted to governor for final decision

Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez has ruled in favor of the Crown’s request for the extradition of Cayman permanent resident Iain Nigel MacKellar to the United States.

The magistrate gave her ruling on Monday morning, with reasons expected to be released later. The matter now goes to the governor of the Cayman Islands – currently Acting Governor Franz Manderson – for a final decision as to whether the defendant is to be extradited.

Mr. MacKellar, a resident of North Side and a permanent resident in Cayman since 2007, was arrested at his home on Dec. 17, 2017, after Cayman authorities received the extradition request, which by treaty was formally made to the governor – then Governor Helen Kilpatrick. The governor then referred the matter to the courts.

The defendant was named with others on an indictment issued in Texas. It alleged fraud involving a veterinary product for fleas. One of the charges related to “reboxed pet products not manufactured and approved for sale in the United States.” Charges included conspiracy, smuggling and obtaining by deception, extending from 2008.

Three co-conspirators in the case have received prison sentences in the U.S. of 47, 36 and 32 months.

The co-conspirators are: Lam Ngoc “Mark” Tran, of Fountain Valley, California; Allen Smith, of Phoenix, Arizona; and William Humphries, of Laguna Hills, California, according to the indictment filed at the United States District Court in the Southern District of Texas in Houston.

Mr. MacKellar, a U.K. citizen, had indicated early in the proceedings that he would not voluntarily agree to extradition, so a hearing was required.

Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards and Crown counsel Toyin Salako presented the evidence to show that the offense Mr. MacKellar is accused of in the U.S. is one that would be an offense if committed in Cayman and that the evidence is sufficient to go to trial.

Attorney James Austin-Smith represented Mr. MacKellar. He had argued successfully for bail in the Grand Court in April and the magistrate continued bail pending conclusion of the matter.

She also advised Mr. MacKellar of his right to appeal within 14 days.

Proceedings took place under the Extradition Act 2003 (Overseas Territories) Order 2016.

Bail conditions originally included a cash security of $5 million, a charge on Mr. MacKellar’s North Side property, and the posting of private security guards to ensure that he did not leave the island. The conditions were subsequently modified, removing the need for security guards.