Essex lorry deaths: Eamonn Harrison extradition hearing begins

By Shane Harrison
BBC NI Dublin correspondent

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image captionThe bodies were discovered in the early hours of 23 October

The extradition hearing of a County Down lorry driver wanted by Essex police investigating the deaths of 39 people found in the back of a lorry has begun at the High Court in Dublin.

Police are seeking the extradition of Eamonn Harrison, a truck driver from Mayobridge, who is being held in the Republic of Ireland.

The 22-year-old faces 39 manslaughter charges and two conspiracy charges.

One of these is in relation to human trafficking and the other is connected to assisting unlawful immigration.

The court heard that the UK authorities say Mr Harrison drove the truck with the refrigerated container to Zeebrugge in Belgium before it was collected in Essex by Craigavon driver Maurice Robinson.

The court heard legal argument about whether a suspect can be extradited to face a charge of conspiracy to commit a human trafficking offence.

image captionEamonn Harrison was arrested in Dublin on a European Arrest Warrant

Lawyers representing Mr Harrison claimed that the extradition warrant wrongly listed him as a British citizen.

They said he is Irish and was travelling on an Irish passport.

The High Court also heard that his "acts" of driving the lorry with the container all happened in Belgium, adding that it is not clear where the 39 people died.

At a hearing on Monday, the court heard Mr Harrison was "a man of modest means".

He will remain in custody until the hearing resumes on 12 December.

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