Man loses bid to beat Peru drug extradition

A Blackpool man today spoke of his shock after the failure of his desperate bid to prevent his extradition to Peru to face drug smuggling charges.

Thursday, 28th April 2016, 9:59 am
Updated Thursday, 28th April 2016, 11:03 am
Jamie Cato will await trial at the Ancon II jail in Peru

Jamie Cato, 44, is accused of sending almost half-a-kilo of cocaine in a parcel from Lima in November 2009.

He has strenuously denied any wrongdoing and fought tooth-and-nail to stop his extradition.

His brother Jason died in March from injuries he sustained from falling from a balcony at the Lurigancho prison in Lima – described as one of the toughest in the world.

Jamie Cato will await trial at the Ancon II jail in Peru

He served three years in the prison on a drugs smuggling charge and was on parole when he died.

Yesterday, delivering judgment, two of the UK’s senior judges dismissed the South Shore man’s appeal.

Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Nicol said Mr Cato’s removal to Peru would not violate his human rights.

Mr Cato is accused of sending the package from a post office while he was living and working in South America.

Jamie Cato will await trial at the Ancon II jail in Peru

However, he was only quizzed after he returned to the UK and was jailed for entirely separate drugs crime.

Mr Cato was approaching his release date from a sentence for smuggling drugs into Cumbria when he was approached by the Peruvians.

He objected to his extradition, but in a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Judge Emma Arbuthnot said there was no reason to prevent it.

Mr Cato argued there was evidence that prison conditions in Peru would amount to ‘inhuman or degrading treatment’.

And reports of ‘corruption’ within the Peruvian judiciary suggested there was a good chance he would not receive a fair trial.

Giving judgment, Mr Justice Nicol said conditions in some prisons were shocking, but that the Peruvian government had promised Mr Cato would go to one of its better jails, Ancon II where prisoners have more space.

Mr Cato complained that, even so, he would only have about one square metre of free space in his cell and that medical services are poor.

Rejecting the appeal, Mr Justice Nicol said: “Life in Ancon II for a foreign prisoner is likely to be tough, but a stringent test has to be passed before the conditions of detention can be said to be inhuman or degrading.”

Lord Justice Laws agreed with Mr Justice Nicol’s comments and Mr Cato’s appeal was dismissed.

Yesterday he said: “I am completely shocked to hear this. It has come as a total shock. I don’t know what to say. I need to speak to my solicitor straight away.”