Exchange Chambers’ Nick Johnson instructed to work in Moscow on Russian Extradition case

January 14, 2014

Nick Johnson, one of Exchange Chambers’ specialist fraud barristers, continues to develop an international dimension to his practice, including extradition work relating to the USA and, now, the Russian Federation.

Instructed by Howard & Byrne to represent a Russian citizen living in the UK facing allegations of fraud, his lay client was suddenly arrested by Scotland Yard officers for an alleged high profile murder in Russia, as part of a revenge attack for the alleged rape of a child. This led last month to a fascinating trip to Moscow where Nick and his solicitor researched not only the allegation but also the state of prisons in Russia, including the notorious remand centres or SIZOs, with the help of local lawyers.

Commenting on the case, Nick said: “It was fascinating to share experiences with Russian white collar lawyers and hear about their concerns over securing a fair trial in Russia and the prison regime and conditions. For non-jury trials, the conviction rate is in excess of 99% and jury trial is available for a very limited number of crimes. It struck me as ironic that our criminal justice system was so revered in Russia yet continues to be squeezed financially at home.”

Nick explained that a recent ECHR pilot case called Ananyev made widespread criticisms of Russian prison conditions and, while the Federation has responded with an Action Plan for reform and seems to have released some high profile detainees in advance of the Sochi Olympics, the reforms have come in for significant criticism. “The Part 2 extradition hearing will focus upon the extent and success of proposed reform to meet the most basic human rights against torture, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

The case continues.