Attempt to get away with burglary, 1979 The below is copypasta from the American Journal of International Law, Vol.74, p447. It pertains to two Co$ members living in the UK who tried to get out of extradition to face Operation Snow White-related burglary/trespass charges, by trying some special pleading/technicality. Doesn't look like the court bought it... Extradition-double criminality-definition of political offense-speciality IN THE MATTER OF BUDLONG KEMBER.' NOS. 199/79, 200/79. AND Queen's Bench Division, Nov. 30, 1979. The United States requested the extradition of the accused, an Ameri- can national and a British national, on ten charges of burglary, pursuant to the treaty with the United Kingdom of 1972 (28 UST 227, TIAS No. 8468)(Treaty). It appeared that the accused, who were senior members of the Church of Scientology and who resided in the United Kingdom, had instructed members of this organization in the United States to break into offices of the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice in the District of Columbia for the purpose of making photocopies of documents pertaining to the organization. Finding that a prima facie case of burglary had been made against the accused, the metropolitan magis- trate granted the extradition request. The accused then applied for writs of habeas corpus, complaining that the extradition order was illegal. The Queen's Bench Division denied their applications. At the outset, the applicants argued that the magistrate did not have before him a document showing that the charge of burglary corresponded fully to the crime of burglary as defined in English law. It appeared that in English law burglary involved the act of trespass. The requisition 19 Id., 3403. 20 Id., 3404. 21 Ibid. ' Text of decision provided by William S. Kenney, Esq. The text is in the form of a stenographic report made by Walsh, Cherer and Co., Ltd. Page 3 448 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW [Vol. 74 sent by the Home Office to the magistrate simply referred to burglary. In the opinion of the court, the requisition was the only document that had to be submitted to the magistrate in order to initiate the extradition proceedings under the Treaty and the relevant law, and, in form, it need only refer to the offense in general terms. Applicants then argued that because the definition of burglary in En- glish law differed from that in the District of Columbia Code (22 D.C. Code $1801 ( b ) ) , the requirement of double criminality that appears in the Treaty (Art. 111) had not been met. Admittedly, the burglars had committed trespass in undertaking their act; applicants contended, how- ever, that unless trespass was recognized as part of the offense of burglary, as in English law, if extradited, they would be tried for a different offense from that understood in England. Mr. Justice Gri5ths pointed out that an examination of English and American judicial decisions and statutes indicated that for purposes of extradition the offense charged did not have to be identical in terms in each country's laws. Given the differences in language and legal systems, to require identical definitions of offenses would make extradition a very difficult process. The court said: I therefore summarise by saying that double criminality in our law of extradition is satisfied if it is shown: (1) that the crime for which extradition is demanded would be recognised as substantially similar in both countries; (2) that there is a prima facie case that the con- duct of the accused amounted to the commission of the crime accord- ing to English 1aw.l Applicants further contended that the offenses charged were actually political offenses for which extradition could not be granted under the Treaty. They argued that the burglaries had been committed in order to ascertain what detrimental information the U.S. Government had on file about the Church of Scientology and what persons in the Government were opposed to this organization. They submitted that the ultimate objective of the burglaries was to use this information in order to change the Government's hostile policy toward their organization. They main- tained that this objective was political in nature; hence, the burglaries were political offenses. Although applicants' orders for the commission of the burglaries, which were submitted in evidence to the court, indicated that these acts were designed to obtain Government documents as well as the names of Government personnel opposed to the Church of Scien- tology, the court did not find that these orders supported applicants' alleged political objectives. Mr. Justice Griffiths said: I am unable to accept that organising burglaries either for the purpose of identifying persons in Government o5ces hostile to the Scientolo ists, or for the purpose of gaining an advantage in litigation, or even for the wider purpose of refuting false allegations thus en- abling a better image of the Church of Scientology to be projected to the public, comes anywhere near being an offence of a political character within the meaning of the Extradition Act. 1 Nos. 199/79, 200/79, Q.B.D., Nov. 30, 1979, at 14.