Judges have refused to extradite an alleged American paedophile who lives in a Hampshire village after rejecting an assurance that his human rights would be protected in the US.
Roger Giese, who has been on the run from the FBI since 2007, is wanted for trial in California where he is charged with sexually abusing a boy under the age of 14 from 1998 until 2002.
The 40-year-old former choir master has been living in a village in Hampshire under a different name and working for a PR company.
The US authorities were allowed extra time by London’s High Court to give an assurance that Giese would not be subjected to an order for civil commitment - a form of indeterminate confinement in a secure facility - if convicted of a series of sexual offences against the boy.
Lord Justice Aikens and Mr Justice Holroyde ruled the assurance received was “not sufficient”. They said they would give their reasons at a later date.
The American authorities are now being given time to consider challenging the ruling in the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.
Until then Giese, who has come a step closer to winning his freedom, remains on bail.
An extradition request from the United States was certified by the Home Office in May 2014, and Giese was arrested on June 4 last year.
But Magistrates’ Court District Judge Margot Coleman refused the request last April.
She ruled there was “a real risk” that Giese, if found guilty, could be subjected to an indefinite commitment order which would be a “flagrant denial” of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Such orders are imposed on “persons of unsound mind” deemed to be dangerous who have been convicted in the criminal courts and served a sentence for sexual offences.
California is one of 20 states in the USA which have a system of civil commitment.
The US government appealed, but on October 7 Judge Coleman’s decision was upheld by the High Court.
The judges found the Californian legal criteria for deciding who were “persons of unsound mind” incompatible with Article 5 (1) of the ECHR, which protects the right to liberty.
The US authorities were given time to provide an assurance that “there will be no attempt to make him the subject of a civil commitment order”.
When the case returned to court on October 21, the US was given more time to come up with an appropriate assurance.
An assurance was eventually offered. But today Lord Justice Aikens announced: “We have concluded that the assurance was not sufficient for us fully to rely on it.”
Giese is wanted in Orange County, California on “19 serious charges of sexual offences” against a young boy.
He is alleged to have befriended the boy in 1998, when he was working as a voice coach for the All-American Boys Chorus.
He fled the US eight years ago just as he was about to stand trial.
According to a Mirror newspaper investigation, he set up home with a new partner in the Hampshire countryside. There was no suggestion she knew about his past.
Together, the pair built a PR company with clients including travel giants Thomas Cook.
The Mirror reported that ,through his company, Giese was invited to join Thomas Cook’s digital advisory board and spent more than a year as the firm’s “global head of social media”.