A Northampton man accused of a fortnight of sordid underage hotel sex with an American schoolgirl has today lost his High Court fight against extradition to the United States.
Richard Castle, aged 46, is alleged by the US authorities to have pretended to be a 17-year-old boy to worm his way into the affections of the schoolgirl, who he is said to have met over the internet in 2009 when she was 12.
He faces accusations he sent her photos of his private parts and travelled to Ohio for a holiday in 2011, during which they had sex numerous times in his hotel and her home.
Castle was arrested after authorities in the US requested his extradition, following a complaint by a teacher to whom the girl had confided the alleged relationship.
He hotly contested his extradition, ordered last April, and today took his case to the High Court in London, where two top judges rejected his appeal.
His legal team argued extradition to the US could violate his right to liberty, guaranteed under Article 5 of the Human Rights Convention, because a US federal statute allows for prisoners proved to be mentally ill and a risk of molesting children to be detained even after their sentence has ended.
The “civil commitment” regime is partially designed to protect children in the US from paedophiles who cannot control their sexual urges.
Castle’s lawyers argued there was a risk he could end up behind bars indefinitely beyond the expiry of any sentence he got if extradited and convicted.
But Mr Justice Kenneth Parker and Lord Justice Moses rejected the appeal on the basis there was “no real risk” Mr Castle would be so detained.
He has no significant ties to the US and there is no reason to believe the Americans would not deport him after any sentence in order to protect children there.
“He is plainly a prime candidate for deportation on the conclusion of any sentence he serves if extradited, tried and convicted,” said Mr Justice Parker.
“There is no reason to doubt that, having served any term of imprisonment, he would elect to return voluntarily to the UK in any event.
“This appellant stands no real risk of exposure to federal civil commitment in the US and there’s no risk that any of his rights under Article 5 would be violated if he is extradited to the US.”