What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – unless you get extradited to stand trial there

23 July 2015

Wimbledon, Proms in the Park and rain soaked jugs of Pimms at well intentioned barbeques – there are some things you can bank on in a British summer. Uninterrupted sunshine, however, is sadly not on the list and many of us will be counting down the days until our trip abroad to ensure we soak up some well needed vitamin D.

Every year tourists travelling from Britain are caught out by some unusual local laws which lead to hefty fines or, in the worst case scenario, imprisonment. Did you know, for example, that it is illegal to feed pigeons in public spaces in Venice, to chew gum on the public transport system in Singapore or to take hay fever medication containing pseudoephedrine in Japan?

Some of the other less known foreign offences include dressing only in a bikini or swimming trunks away from the beach front area in Barcelona, sitting or eating on steps and courtyards in the immediate vicinity of churches in Florence and photographing government buildings or palaces in Saudi Arabia.

If you are unfortunate enough to fall foul of one of these less well known laws whilst abroad, you should hopefully be able to deal with the matter at the time. In more serious situations however, the offence can follow you back to the UK. Although you may not be a resident in the country where the offence took place, you could face the prospect of extradition proceedings if you refuse to return voluntarily to face criminal proceedings.

The UK will order the extradition of a person if the request from the foreign authority satisfies certain requirements. In relation to the alleged criminal behaviour, the offence in question must either also be an offence in this country (i.e. it is an offence of dual criminality) or it must fall into the prescribed framework list of 32 offences.

In the case of dual criminality offences, the offence must also be punishable by at least 12 months’ imprisonment or a sentence of four months’ imprisonment (where the individual has already been sentenced). For framework offences, the offence must be punishable by at least three years’ imprisonment or a sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment (where the individual has already been sentenced).

It is therefore unlikely that most of the above examples would be considered an offence capable of satisfying an extradition offence. Other holiday indiscretions however, for example those involving drugs or alcohol, may well be sufficiently serious to satisfy the requirements for extradition.

However, forewarned is forearmed, so if you conduct some research of your destination and local laws before you embark then hopefully sunburn and navigating the local cuisine will be the only difficulties you encounter abroad.

Please click here for specific FCA foreign travel advice.

Further information

For further information on the issues raised in this blog, please contact Geraldine Wycherley or a member of the Criminal Litigation team.

Share insightLinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email to a friend Print

Email this page to a friend

We welcome views and opinions about the issues raised in this blog. Should you require specific advice in relation to personal circumstances, please use the form on the contact page.

Leave a comment

You may also be interested in:

Skip to content Home About Us Insights Services Contact Accessibility