Identity issue in the “non-rocket science” extradition case, the sheriff tells the court

Identity issue in the “non-rocket science” extradition case, the sheriff tells the court

Man claims to be Arthur Knight (Andrew Milligan / PA) (PA Wire)

Man claims to be Arthur Knight (Andrew Milligan / PA) (PA Wire)

It shouldn’t be “rocket science” to prove the identity of an alleged fugitive who faces extradition to the United States on sex charges, a sheriff said.

Sheriff Kenneth Maciver told Sheriff Court in Edinburgh that he is “pressing” to establish the identity of the alleged man Nicholas Rossi, who is said to have faked his own death in order to escape accusations in the United States.

Prosecutors say the man is Rossi, who allegedly raped a 21-year-old in Utah in 2008 and also allegedly assaulted women elsewhere in the United States.

However, the 35-year-old man claims to be called Arthur Knight, a victim of a mistaken identity who has never been to America.

Sheriff Maciver told man’s defense agent Ronnie Renucci KC that the question of identity will be the first question the court will have to answer at the extradition hearing.

He said: “The court must be convinced that the person is the person wanted by the United States.

“It is serious if the person here is not the wanted person from the United States, which I understand is his position.

“This is a question that needs to be resolved quickly now. This caused problems from day one.

“There are photos sent to the court in connection with identification, there are DNA problems, fingerprints, there are also physical problems, face photos that can be shown to face experts, there are body photos with tattoos.

“He could for example send photos showing that he has no tattoos on any of his arms, these are important issues that would allow us to move forward with the identification.”

Tax Congressman Clare Kennedy confirmed that the Crown now has fingerprints.

The 35-year-old man, who appeared in video link from HMP Edinburgh on Thursday wearing an oxygen mask, denies being the alleged fugitive.

When Sheriff Maciver asked him if he was Rossi, he replied: “No, good morning Your Lordship, I am Arthur Knight and I would like to ask Your Lordship if we could start with a moment of silence in memory of His Great Majesty.”

Sheriff Maciver said the question of identity is not that difficult and can be verified in cross-examination and through the production of information such as photos, birth and marriage certificates and testimonials from friends.

He added: “It’s not rocket science.”

Mr Renucci said that the question of identity is a priority.

He said: “I am aware that the question of identity is absolutely critical and crucial. I understand that steps will be taken to try to iron this out. “

The court also heard that a doctor is preparing a psychological report for the defense but there have been some difficulties in obtaining medical records because they are in Rossi’s name, while the man claims to be Mr. Knight.

However, it is hoped that the problem can be resolved soon.

A further hearing will take place on 6 October and the full extradition hearing is expected to take place in early November.

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