An Accra High Court yesterday ordered the extradition to London of Arthur Simpson-Kent, the 48-year-old British/Ghanaian accused of allegedly murdering his actress girlfriend and their two children.
The order by the court, presided over by Justice Merley Wood, followed a voluntary request by the triple murder suspect to be sent to London.
The request by the accused ended the rather tedious extradition processes initiated by the Attorney-General weeks ago.
The accused was said to have murdered his wife Sian Blake, 43, and their two sons—Zachary, 8, and Amon, 4—on December 16, 2015 at Erith in London.
His lawyer, Justice Srem-Sai, after a 30-minute break to consult with Simpson-Kent, during the hearing, told the court his client wanted the court to waive the extradition processes so he could return to the UK voluntarily.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Wood, who seemed surprised about the turn of events, asked Mr Simpson-Kent whether indeed that was his request.
He responded: “Yes My Lord, that is correct.”
The Judge further asked: “You were not coerced?” and the accused responded, “No”.
The Judge, for the purposes of emphasis, said, “So I take it that this decision was voluntarily taken?” and Simpson-Kent answered in the affirmative: “Yes, My Lord.”
The Judge, in her ruling, granted the request of Simpson-Kent, indicating that the accused had made it clear to the court and through his lawyer that he voluntarily wanted to be sent to the UK.
The trial judge ordered the A-G to expedite the processes for the extradition.
She also ordered the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to grant the lawyers access to the accused while on remand at their cells.
Justice Srem-Sai, after conferring with the accused, said the story of his client was completely contrary to that of the prosecution.
He stated that Simpson-Kent was not running from justice either in the United Kingdom or in Ghana.
According to the lawyer, the suspect did not think the extradition processes were necessary for him to be sent to the UK, adding that but for the fact that he had been detained, he would have been in the UK by now.
Srem-Sai noted that Simpson-Kent was willing and voluntarily submitting himself to be taken back to the UK where closure was expected to be brought to the case as soon as possible.
Kent’s lawyer further stated that his client was in the hands of England to try him as the laws of the country prescribed.
Mrs Rebecca Adjalo, a Principal State Attorney, who led a team of state prosecutors, told the court she had been taken “aback” and that the gesture by Simpson-Kent was an honourable thing.
She gave the assurance that the A-G was going to expedite the processes to allow the voluntary extradition of the accused.
Meanwhile, as part of the extradition process, the A-G tendered a 200-page case brief through D/Cpl Alhaji Ali Ganani to the court.
The said document, earlier referred to by Mrs Adjalo as depositions from the UK’s Judicial Officers, purportedly contained “overwhelming” revelations about the case.
The depositions, the Principal State Attorney believed, contained CCTV footages chronicling the movements of the fugitive from the time he left the family house; when he withdrew money from an account; boarded a coach to Glasgow, a plane to Amsterdam and through to his subsequent arrival in Ghana.
Mrs Adjalo disclosed that in Ghana, Simpson-Kent was also captured by a CCTV at the Airport.
The accused was initially arraigned before the Kaneshie District Magistrate Court in Accra over a three-count murder charge until a letter from the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, directed that the case be transferred to the High Court.
The decomposing bodies of the three victims were discovered buried in a shallow grave in the garden behind their apartment 20 days after they were reported missing.
Ms Blake and her two sons with Simpson-Kent were last seen on December 13 last year.
The accused reportedly quickly dashed to Ghana and went into hiding at Busua near Takoradi in the Western Region until he was arrested by the locals and handed over to the police.
Simpson-Kent was arrested on January 9 in a joint operation by INTERPOL and Ghana Police, with assistance from the indigenes of Busua and Butre, the adjoining communities at Busua, a popular tourist site in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region.
The British fugitive was armed with a knife and a spoon at the time of his arrest.
He had been wanted since the bodies of Sian, Zachary and Amon were found.
He was said to have arrived in Ghana on December 19, 2015 after allegedly committing the crime.
Police enquires at the Kotoka International Airport confirmed that the accused arrived in Ghana on December 19, 2015 but he entered on his disembarkation form December 7, 2015 as the date on which he arrived in Ghana.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson