Defense team for US fugitive Nicholas Rossi offer to quash his extradition as English police want to question him over alleged rape, court hears
- Rossi’s lawyers have said he could be jailed south of the border if convicted
A US fugitive is set to have his extradition case dropped because English police want to question him over an alleged rape, a court has heard.
Lawyers for Nicholas Rossi, who is fighting extradition to Utah where he is charged with sex offenses, said he could be jailed south of the border if convicted.
Mungo Bovey, KC, told Edinburgh Sheriff’s Court yesterday that if he were to serve a custodial sentence in England his poor health could deteriorate.
He added that if the extradition hearing takes place, it would mean Rossi could be sent to the United States on terms set in Edinburgh when he is in better health.
Assistant Solicitor Alan Cameron said yesterday that the extradition hearing must go ahead and that Mr Bovey’s argument was based on possibilities, not certainties.
Lawyers for Nicholas Rossi (pictured) have said he could face jail south of the border if found guilty
It was alleged he faked his own death in 2020 and fled to the UK to escape prosecution
After a lengthy adjournment, Sheriff Norman McFadyen agreed the hearing could continue, but said the subject of Rossi wanted for questioning in England raised from the outset was “deeply unsatisfactory”.
Rossi, who arrived in court wearing a black toga and skullcap, claims he is an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight. But a sheriff decided last November that it was Nicholas Rossi.
The 36-year-old came to the attention of authorities when he was at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow in December 2021.
It was alleged he faked his own death in 2020 and fled to the UK to escape prosecution. He was identified by tattoos matching Rossi’s criminal records.
While in Scotland, using the pseudonym Knight and posing as a guardian, Rossi developed Covid pneumonia and became “the sickest patient on the ward”, according to the medical staff caring for him.
That’s when Scottish police officers received an Interpol Red Notice – a document that asks law enforcement to find and provisionally arrest someone in their country – with pictures of the wanted man.
The court then heard Rossi claim that he had not received a crucial legal document from the National Crime Agency (NCA) when he was hospitalized.
But a police officer who served the Interpol red notice and NCA crime certificate on Rossi in hospital in Glasgow on December 14, 2021, said he had handed over the document.
Constable Dominic McLarnon was based at the hospital and received the documents to present to Rossi.
The officer said Rossi refused to sign anything, but took the documents from him as well as a judicial execution of the service, which Rossi also refused to sign.
PC McLarnon said he wrote a police statement in his notebook after the documents were served.
Rossi left Edinburgh Sheriff and Justice of the Peace towards the end of last year
Defending Rossi, Mr Bovey explained to PC McLarnon that he had not served the NCA certificate as there was no record of its receipt.
But PC McLarnon said: “I would have no reason to lie about it.” Mr. Bovey argues that extradition should be rejected on this issue.
Rossi continued to deny his identity yesterday.
Mr Cameron accused Rossi of lying about his identity, which also called into question his credibility as a witness.
He said: “The court has heard on another occasion that you are Nicholas Rossi.”
Rossi replied: “That’s not true. My name is Mr. Knight.
The week-long hearing will continue at Edinburgh Sheriff’s Court today.