UK child sex fugitive to appeal extradition ruling

News24, Reporter – James de Villiers

Cape Town – A 53-year-old man wanted in the UK on 42 paedophilia-related charges, is to appeal a ruling finding him liable to be extradited, the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court heard on Monday.

He is also expected to apply for his release on bail, pending the appeal.

Dressed in a blue shirt and a grey jacket, a clean-shaven Lee Tucker appeared in court to hear the reasons why Magistrate Vusi Mhlanga found him extraditable.

Shortly after Mhlanga handed down is reasons, Tucker’s defence attorney Ben Mathewson asked to address the court.

“As the court indicated on Friday, we have the right to appeal… we will be filing notice of appeal once the court has adjourned,” Mathewson said.

He urged Mhlanga to set a provisional date for Tucker’s bail application.

“I am in the hands of the court which day will be the best for bail application.”

Tucker appeared relaxed as he entered the dock and smiled as Mathewson announced his intention to appeal.

He was arrested in March 2016 after a provisional arrest request from the UK.

He had been on the run for 15 years and was declared a fugitive from justice in 2016.

The charges he faces in the UK includes assaulting underage boys, living from the earnings of male prostitution and being a part of a paedophile ring in Bristol in 1998.

In his reasons for the extradition ruling, Mhlanga said the evidence placed before the court was sufficient “to warrant the prosecution of Mr Tucker”.

The defence’s challenge to the evidence presented was “clearly not supported by the facts,” Mhlanga added.

Tucker is in custody at Pollsmoor Prison.

As he left the court, he tried to talk to three women seated in the front of the court gallery.

Outside of the courtroom, one of the women gave Mathewson clean clothing to give to Tucker.

Neither Mathewson nor the women wished to respond to News24’s request for comment.

“No, nothing, I don’t want to talk to you,” one of the women said as they hurried down stairs in the building.

November 16 has been set down as a provisional date for Tucker’s bail application.