A rape suspect fighting extradition to the US is today (Wednesday, August 2) expected to find out whether he will be sent to America. Nicholas Rossi is due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court this morning.
Rossi, 35, is wanted in the US in connection with alleged offences including rape. He is contesting moves by authorities there to have him flown over to face legal proceedings.
He claims to be an Irish orphan called Arthur Knight, a victim of mistaken identity. Today’s hearing was postponed previously on medical grounds.
Rossi was arrested in the UK more than two years ago in connection with the alleged offences in the US.
He was being treated for Covid-19 at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow when he was detained in December 2021. It has been alleged that Rossi faked his own death in 2020 and fled from the US to the UK to evade prosecution.
Last month, a lawyer fighting against Rossi’s extradition argued in court it would be a “flagrant violation” of his human rights. Mungo Bovey KC argued that Rossi, who claims to be another man named Arthur Knight, had never been proven to be a US national citizen.
Bovey raised a number of issues he argued would breach Rossi’s rights if he were to be extradited including the impact on his health, the added difficulty he would have engaging with lawyers and the condition of prisons. He argued Rossi’s propensity to create “conflict” within the prison system, which he attributed to a suspected personality disorder, might make life difficult for him in a US prison.
Bovey raised these points after an adjournment was called when Rossi announced to the court he wished to dismiss his lawyer. Rossi said twice that he wanted to “dismiss counsel” which drew a warning from the sheriff.
He told Rossi: “If you are disruptive I will have you removed from court.” The hearing continued following the brief adjournment with no further mention of Rossi’s demands.
In the afternoon, advocate depute Alan Cameron urged the sheriff to dismiss Bovey’s arguments and evidence led by Rossi relating to his alleged poor health which Cameron insisted could not be relied upon. Rossi, who has been using a wheelchair to attend court since the hearing began, previously claimed he was unable to walk and could not raise his arms above his head.
But Cameron reminded the court that a previous speaker, Dr Barbara Mundweil, had said there is no medical reason for Rossi to use the wheelchair. Cameron went on to argue there was no evidence that Rossi suffered from any condition, physical or otherwise, which would be a barrier to his extradition.