The extradition process for Australian collar bomb hoax suspect Paul Douglas Peters could take years if he decides to fight it, an American legal expert says.
Peters, 50, who is currently locked up in a Kentucky prison, was arrested in Louisville this week on provisional warrants relating to a bomb hoax targeting Sydney schoolgirl Madeleine Pulver.
Top US federal criminal lawyer Douglas C McNabb, an expert in extradition, said if Peters waged a battle that went to the US Court of Appeals and ultimately the US Supreme Court, it could take between three to four years.
If Peters did the opposite and agreed to be extradited, he could be back in Australia within days.
“He could be removed as quickly as Australian law enforcement moved,” said Mr McNabb, who has law practices in Washington DC, Houston and Chicago.
Peters made a brief appearance in the US District Court in Louisville on Tuesday, and Judge Dave Whalin set an extradition hearing for October 14.
Peters could also apply for bail on that day and test the evidence against him with a probable cause hearing.
Unlike a criminal trial where prosecutors have to prove a defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, burden of proof in a US extradition hearing is only “probable cause”.
Peters, an investment banker and lawyer based on the NSW central coast suburb of Copacabana, was arrested on Monday after a US SWAT team raided his ex-wife’s home outside of Louisville.
He is accused of donning a multicoloured balaclava, arming himself with a baseball bat and breaking into the multi-million dollar Sydney home of the Pulver family on August 3.
Madeleine Pulver, 18, was alone in the house and NSW Police allege Peters put a black box against her throat and looped a device similar to a bike chain around her neck. A note on the device allegedly stated there were “powerful new technology plastic explosives” inside the box.
After a 10-hour ordeal, police bomb technicians determined it was not a bomb.
Peters faces charges in Australia of kidnapping; aggravated break and enter with intent to commit a serious indictable offence; and demand property with intent to steal.
This article was published by The Australian on August 19, 2011.
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Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.
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