England

Court orders release of murder suspect Piotr Kupiec

A court has ordered the release of a murder suspect after an administrative error meant he was not taken from prison to a legal hearing.

Piotr Kupiec, who faces extradition to his native Poland on a murder charge, was not taken from Wandsworth Prison to Westminster Magistrates' Court.

At the court on Wednesday, a district judge said there was now "no power to hold him" and ordered his release.

Mr Kupiec is expected to be re-arrested at the prison gates if he is released.

The 28-year-old, who was the subject of an international manhunt, is wanted by Polish authorities over the death of a man following a football match in 2007.

He was arrested in January at a Subway restaurant where he worked - just 500 yards from a police station in Wiltshire.

But the warrant under which he was detained was withdrawn on Tuesday because police investigating the case arrested another man with the same name, making it invalid.

'Potential' for release

A new warrant was due to be issued at Wednesday's court hearing, meaning Mr Kupiec could be re-arrested, but he was not produced at court.

District Judge Quentin Purdy said: "There is no power to hold him. He has to be released, unless there is any lawful basis for arresting him."

The National Crime Agency said a new European arrest warrant had been certified.

"In these circumstances, the subject is required to be produced at the court from prison to allow him to be discharged from the deficient warrant and then re-arrested on the newly issued warrant," a spokesman said.

"The subject has not been produced at court and there is the potential for him to be released from the prison as the discharge must be dealt with regardless.

"There are arrangements in place to secure his re-arrest on the new European arrest warrant if/when he is released from prison."

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