Man wins two-year extradition battle

A Grand Court judge has ruled against the extradition to the US of a North Side resident wanted in that country on fraud-related charges.

Iain MacKellar, 62, was arrested at his home in December 2017, a month after Cayman authorities received an extradition request from the US in relation to allegations regarding his involvement in the sale of counterfeit flea and tick powder.

The original 12-count indictment was filed in July 2015 in Texas, where the extradition request was also filed. The indictment alleged that MacKellar and others were selling the counterfeit products, and had committed wire fraud to do so. MacKellar maintained that the products were original, but were improperly packaged for the overseas market.

MacKellar contested the extradition request on the grounds that the order was an abuse of process, that the offences listed on the request did not amount to an offence in the US or Cayman Islands, and that it would be unjust and oppressive to extradite him.

The matter was initially heard in Summary Court, which in September 2018 ruled in favour of extraditing MacKellar. He appealed that decision in the Grand Court.

During the appeal, held in November 2019, MacKellar relied on similar grounds but added that, due to his failing health, extraditing him would significantly reduce the likelihood of him surviving the illness.

In her written judgment, Acting Grand Court Justice Linda Dobbs said, “This court has found that it would be oppressive to extradite Dr. MacKellar. That is the end of the matter.”

She added, “However, for the sake of completeness, had the Magistrate addressed the identified issues correctly and given of the updated uncontroverted medical evidence, she would have reached the same conclusion and would have been required to order the Appellant’s discharge.”

Justice Dobbs went on to discharge MacKellar before turning her attention to his appeal against the governor’s approval of the extradition request after the earlier ruling by the Summary Court.

MacKellar’s attorneys argued that the governor did not have the authority to approve the extradition, and that the current legislation requires more evidence for the extradition to be successful.

Justice Dobbs refused the second appeal on all grounds. Nonetheless, MacKellar will not be extradited because of the judge’s ruling on the initial extradition appeal.

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