WATCH: Ruling expected on alleged paedophile living in Hampshire
An alleged American paedophile living in secret in Hampshire is set to hear whether he can be extradited to the US on a string of child sex offences.
Former choirmaster Roger Giese is fighting a renewed bid to extradite him from the UK to the US where he is wanted for trial in California, charged with sexually abusing a boy under the age of 14 from 1998 until 2002.
The removal of the 42-year-old was previously blocked by High Court judges in London on human rights grounds.
District judge Margot Coleman said she would give her ruling at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Giese has been living in a village in Hampshire under a different name and working for a PR company.
Lawyers argued over whether a promise by US legal officials on his future treatment should be trusted during an extradition hearing which end earlier this month.
Giese is wanted in Orange County, California, on “19 serious charges of sexual offences” against a young boy.
It has been suggested he could serve up to 20 years if convicted of all offences, then potentially be assessed as a sexually violent predator and face a civil commitment order - a form of indeterminate confinement in a secure facility.
UK judges had refused to extradite Giese after concerns were raised that, if convicted, he might be subjected to an order for civil commitment.
The judges ruled there was a real risk and such an order could breach his human rights. They also ruled an assurance offered by the US government that this would not happen was “not sufficient”.
There is a new assurance from the Orange County District Attorney’s office stating that a civil commitment order would not be sought.
Defence counsel Julian Knowles QC described the assurance as “not adequate, not enforceable and not sufficient”. He questioned whether the assurance could be binding on future District Attorneys.
Toby Cadman, for the US government, responded: “It is, of course, the government’s position that the assurance is sufficient to allay any fears and that the assurance is unambiguous in its terms.”
He said there was no suggestion that future District Attorneys may try to get around the assurance.
An extradition request from the United States was first certified by the Home Office in May 2014 and a series of legal battles has been fought over Giese’s removal ever since.
He is alleged to have befriended the boy in 1998, when he was working as a voice coach for the All-American Boys Chorus.
Giese has been on the run from the FBI since 2007.
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 giant 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”.