Dublin Court Hears Extradition Case Over 39 Lorry Deaths

An aerial view of the scene in Thurock, South England, where a truck was found to contain a large number of dead bodies on Oct. 23, 2019. (UK Pool via AP)

DUBLIN (AFP) — A man wanted by British police over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in a lorry container last year appeared in an Irish court Tuesday, facing extradition on manslaughter charges.

Ronan Hughes, 40, was arrested by Irish police on Monday following a European arrest warrant for 39 counts of manslaughter and one count of conspiracy to commit unlawful immigration.

It is the latest development in the human-trafficking case, which saw 31 men and eight women from Vietnam discovered dead in a truck in an industrial zone in Grays, east of London, in October.

Hughes appeared wearing a navy polo shirt and a face mask, remained silent during the brief hearing at Dublin’s Criminal Courts of Justice on Tuesday.

Irish police sergeant James Kirwan recounted serving the arrest warrant on Hughes, who also goes by the first name Rowan, at his home in rural Country Monaghan on Monday evening.

“I’m satisfied that the person named on the warrant is the person I arrested,” he told judge Paul Burns.

“I have considered the European arrest warrant, I see that it is duly endorsed by this court and that it has been duly executed,” said Burns.

Lorry driver Maurice Robinson on a video-link at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court, England, on Oct. 28, 2019. Robinson was charged with manslaughter over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in the back of a truck. He pleaded guilty on Nov. 25, 2019, to lesser charges. (Elizabeth Cook/PA via AP, File)

He informed Hughes of his rights and set a date for the extradition proceedings to continue on May 1.

Earlier this month British lorry driver Maurice Robinson, 25, pleaded guilty to manslaughter of the 39 found dead in the container, which had recently arrived in England on a ferry from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.

The victims, which included two 15-year-old boys, died from lack of oxygen and overheating, according to post-mortem examinations.

Numerous other men have also been charged in the case.

© Agence France-Presse

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