By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Court of Appeal has foiled a former police officer's hopes of having the country's highest court overturn its order for him to be extradited to the United States to stand trial for allegedly sexually assaulting his ex-girlfriend.
The appellate court dismissed Nyahuma Bastian's application for leave to appeal to the Privy Council concerning its August 2019 extradition order for him to stand trial over the alleged attack on his former lover in 2001.
However, the Court of Appeal said its decision to dismiss Bastian's application is stayed for 60 days from the date of delivery to allow Bastian the opportunity to petition the Privy Council directly for leave to petition it.
The appellate tribunal of Justices Jon Isaacs, Stella Crane-Scott and Sir Michael Barnett unanimously agreed that Bastian was unable to demonstrate that his case is "one which the Privy Council has yet to pronounce authoritatively".
Conversely, the appellate judges said the Privy Council has, in "numerous cases", travelled the issues Bastian raised in his application.
"We are satisfied that the issues (Bastian) seeks to have their Lordships determine do not raise any novel point of law; nor is any a point of law of public importance raised which requires the attention of the Privy Council," the appellate judges ruled.
According to the Court of Appeal's ruling, Bastian was arrested and charged in Denton Country, Texas in 2001 with aggravated sexual assault against his ex-girlfriend. The alleged crime occurred on April 26 of that year while they were both students at the University of North Texas.
Bastian was allowed bail and his trial was set for February 2002. However, he fled to The Bahamas, eventually joined the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), and did not appear for his trial.
A warrant was issued for his arrest and subsequently, the United States issued a request for his extradition from the Bahamas.
Bastian was arrested on the extradition warrant when he reported for duty at the Central Detective Unit on June 10, 2010, after the US Department of Justice named him one of the ten most wanted sex offenders in the US.
Following a hearing before a Stipendiary and Circuit Magistrate on March 18, 2015, Bastian was committed to await extradition. On March 25, 2015, Bastian filed a habeas corpus application, but it was dismissed by Justice Ian Winder on September 12, 2017.
Bastian then appealed to the Court of Appeal, who in turn dismissed his appeal on August 23, 2019, and ordered that he be extradited.
Bastian then sought leave to appeal to the Privy Council on the grounds that the Court of Appeal was incorrect to presume that it would not be unjust or oppressive for him to be tried in a US Court of law due to the passage of time; that complaints of racial bias would be addressed by the US Court; and that there was no abuse of process in having him extradited after an extended delay.
However, the appellate judges said although they were being called upon to exercise their discretion, they would first have to be "satisfied" by Bastian that his matter "is one on which the Privy Council has yet to pronounce authoritatively and involves a point of law of public importance".
"In our view, (Bastian) has not demonstrated to us that this matter is one on which the Privy Council has yet to pronounce authoritatively," the appellate judges said. "In fact, the Privy Council has traversed the issues raised by (Bastian) in numerous cases; some of which we have referred to in the judgment sought to be appealed. Moreover, this matter raises no issues or points of law of public importance which require the attention of the Privy Council.
"In the premises, therefore, we deny the application for leave to appeal to the Privy Council. However, we stay our judgment for sixty days from the date of the delivery of our judgment to accord (Bastian) the opportunity to petition their Lordships directly for leave to appeal to the Privy Council."