(07 October, 2016)
EXTRADITION OF DEAN JAY FLETCHER FROM AMERICAN SAMOA
- Given the public interest in this matter, the Attorney General’s Office wishes to inform the public of the progress of work done to extradite Dean Jay Fletcher from American Samoa to Tonga to be tried for the alleged murder of his wife, Patricia Linne Kearney, that happened on 6 July 2016, at Neiafu, Vava’u.
- After being informed by the Police Commissioner that the Accused had absconded from Tonga, and arrived at American Samoa, this Office made immediate contact on 4 October 2016 with counterparts at the United States Department of Justice in Washington C., USA, and American Samoa, in order to commence an extradition process with a view to return the Accused to the Kingdom to be tried for the charges laid against him.
- The Accused is charged with the crime of murder, and in the alternative manslaughter or causing grievous harm, and also interference with the course of justice, and two counts of escape from lawful custody of Tonga Police.
- Tonga and the United States are a party to an extradition treaty that was re-affirmed on 13 April 1977 to apply between Tonga and the United States. This Treaty applies to American Samoa as a territory of the United States.
- After receiving a response from the United States counterparts, on 5 October 2016 an application was sent to the United States, from the Attorney General’s Office on behalf of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga, for a provisional arrest warrant of the Accused to be issued by the United States Federal Court, pending a formal application for extradition to be sent through diplomatic channels.
- The Attorney General’s Office is now awaiting advice from United States authorities on the progress of its application for a provisional arrest warrant against the Accused, and confirmation of the process and legal requirements for an extradition request to the United States to return the Accused from American Samoa. At the same time this Office is currently preparing the normal information required for a formal extradition request for the Accused to be sent through diplomatic channels to the United States Government once the process and information required is confirmed from the United States authorities.
- Extradition is a legally complicated process that would involve determination of complex legal issues through all legal avenues in foreign courts, and therefore it is likely to take some time to complete.
Issued by: ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE