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Updated: May 29, 2014 03:57 IST
The Indian government has filed an appeal in England for extradition of Raymond Varley, who is facing charges of sexual offences against children in India committed between 1989 and 1991.
They are appealing a May 8 order by a District Judge, admitting Varley’s plea that he was suffering from dementia and refusing to grant the Indian government’s request for extradition. The judge recorded: “Finding an extradition order to face trial for a man suffering from dementia needing ‘immediate daily support’ must be both ‘unjust’ and ‘oppressive’ and therefore barred.”
Raymond A. Varley was arrested on the basis of a Red Corner Notice issued by Interpol, after a Goa court issued a non-bailable warrant against him. However, he was arrested in Thailand, and for reasons still unknown, sent to England, and not India. Sources in the CBI said they became aware of the arrest only a day later, after Interpol informed them.
Activists in India are upset at the rejection of the extradition plea. It is reported that a person chosen by Varley evaluated him for dementia. “On questioning by the judge, the neuro-psychologist claimed that Varley chose her because she had a good website. We are shocked the court allowed this person to evaluate him, and based the judgment on that. One would have expected an independent expert to have been consulted in the case,” said Vidya Reddy of Tulir.
Christine Beddoe, former director of End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking (ECPAT) U.K., who attended the trial, said: “Whether Raymond Varley is faking dementia or not, I am really shocked and dismayed that the Crown Prosecution Service failed to obtain an independent psychiatric assessment.”
“The very least we should expect is a qualified psychiatrist to properly diagnose Varley’s mental capacity, even if that means ultimately verifying his own legal opinion. It seems from the outside that serious questions need to be asked about the absence of a second medical opinion,” she added.
Describing the history of his confrontation with the law, Ms. Beddoe says, Varley has a relevant conviction from 1974, and a further 10 indictments from a 1975 case for which he served a prison sentence in the U.K. “Varley has every reason to lie and cheat his way through the legal system. He has never accepted [that] he is the person wanted by Indian police for heinous offences against children. All other grounds that his defence put forward were rejected by the judge. The court had to wait for over a year while Varley’s legal team insisted on two separate British experts to inspect the prison in Goa.”
Raymond Varley (also known as Martin Ashley) is one of the foreigners accused of sexually abusing children from an orphanage run by Freddie Peats in Goa. Peats allegedly facilitated access to the children to visiting European and Australian men. Peats was arrested in 1991 in Goa, and convicted by the Court of Additional Sessions Judge, Margao in March 1996 on charges of sexual abuse of minor children.
CBI charge sheet
The CBI filed a charge sheet in 1996 against Peats, Werner Ingo of Australia, E.C. McBride of New Zealand, and Nils Jonsson of Sweden. A supplementary charge sheet was filed against Raymond Andrew Varley and others. Ms. Beddoe adds: “If the current application for appeal on the extradition is refused, he will be a free man and will no longer be subject to his current restrictive bail conditions which prevent him from going near schools and children’s play areas.”