A DEAF British man has WILL be extradited to Spain after claiming he would not get a fair trial because he can ‘only lip-read Scouse’.
Harry Meadows, 39, will stand trial for his part in a UK gang’s crime spree which involved blowing up cash machines along the Costa del Sol.
His lawyer Benjamin Seifert told the UK High Court he ‘requires a specialist lip-reader who could pronounce words and shape lips to produce a Liverpool accent – a specialism rare in England and rarer still in Spain’.
But after a hearing this week, High Court judge Sir Duncan Ouseley rejected Meadows’ attempt to avoid being sent to face justice in Malaga.
A clinical psychologist also told the UK court how Meadows, who was born deaf, would not cope in a Spanish court as ‘lipreading is a difficult and imprecise skill and he is not very good at it’.
She said: “Lip pattern is affected by accent and there is individual variation. He appears to lipread his family best, and then people from the same area of the country.”
Lawyer Seifert also claimed Meadows was a suicide risk after he previously tried to hang himself after hearing he would extradited on November 8 last year.
But back in February this year, Spanish officials expressed concerns that Meadows was ‘deliberately’ exaggerating his condition.
Meadows is wanted for his alleged role in a British gang that netted €350,000 from blowing up cash machines with hand-made explosives between Marbella and Malaga.
The Liverpool man and his cronies allegedly targeted 14 ATMs at banks between 2013 and 2014.
Spanish prosecutors were seeking to extradite Meadows to Spain, alongside five other suspects, who the Liverpool Echo reported are ‘in UK prisons’.
Meadows, who denies the allegations against him, already served three months in a Spanish prison, before returning to the UK.
Despite a judge approving an extradition order at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in 2018, there was still an ongoing legal battle up until now.
His defence tried to argue that he never learnt sign language and is therefore ‘unfit’ to stand trial in Spain, as he can’t lip-read Spanish.