Lee Nigel Tucker fled the UK for Cape Town in 2000 just before his conviction on charges of sexually assaulting boys under the age of 16.
The extradition stand-off between South Africa’s prosecuting authority and fugitive Lee Nigel Tucker, sought by the UK for imprisonment over a raft of paedophile charges, will be settled by the Constitutional Court.
Along with an accomplice, he was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment in absentia. The case was re-heard in a British court in 2002 and Tucker’s sentence was reduced to six years.
Tucker’s whereabouts remained unknown during and after this 2002 hearing. Years went by with the paedophile living freely in Cape Town, until his luck ran out. The UK authorities traced him in 2016 and applied for his arrest and extradition.
Tucker was held at the Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison as he waged legal battles to avoid extradition to the UK. The former helicopter pilot and IT consultant believed he would not get a fair trial in the UK, alleging the country’s laws discriminated against gay men.
The Western Cape Director of Prosecutions (DPP) was headed to the Constitutional Court to argue for an order allowing Justice Minister Ronald Lamola to decide on Tucker’s extradition.
Western Cape High Court Judge Mark Sher had ruled last year that Tucker’s matter should be remitted to the Magistrate’s Court to hear his evidence why he would not get a fair trial in the UK. He found the magistrate’s refusal to hear Tucker’s evidence irregular. But the DPP wanted the matter to be transferred straight to Lamola.
The minister would hear all Tucker’s submissions before making a decision, said the DPP.
“More than two and a half years after the order (by a magistrate) declaring him liable for extradition (Tucker) remains in custody in limbo and the minister barred from making a final decision.
“In the UK, the complainants have waited in excess of 30 years for justice.
Tucker’s legal team will agree to the transfer of the matter to Lamola, arguing that he should hear how Tucker was prejudiced by the magistrate.