A FATHER-of-six facing extradition to the United States for allegedly exporting chemicals to make drugs today claimed he faces up to two years on remand in Saughton Prison until his appeal is heard by the Supreme Court.
Brian Howes and his wife, Kerry Anne, last week won the right to take their case to the UK’s highest court in London in the latest round of their legal battle.
Mrs Howes, 33, was released on bail to go home and care for the couple’s children, including an 18-week-old baby son, but her 47-year-old husband was remanded in custody.
Speaking to the Evening News from jail, Mr Howes said his lawyers had told him they were confident the pair would win their case at the Supreme Court.
He hit out at the appeal court’s ruling that it was not satisfied Mr Howes would make himself available for extradition and ordered him to stay behind bars.
Mr Howes also revealed the couple are facing the threat of losing their home as mortgage arrears to mount up.
He said: “We expect that the case against us will be thrown out by the Supreme Court, but my lawyers have told me that it could be two years before a decision comes out. I believe I’m being punished for dragging this case out for so long over the last four years, which we’ve done because we’re innocent.
“I’ve been on remand throughout our children’s summer holidays and now they’re going back to school and I’m facing two more years in Saughton. My children are all distraught and my two-year-old is not sleeping at night at the moment.
“I don’t have a passport and I have a red card notice against me which flags up any attempt to travel abroad so I’m not a flight risk. I also volunteered to surrender myself to the authorities again before the Supreme Court decision comes out and sign in at a police station every day.
“I can’t get a bail appeal unless there’s a change in my circumstances. The way it’s working out, I’ve already spent a year on remand and this could be another two years. That would be the equivalent of a six-year sentence with good behaviour and I’ve never been charged with anything.”
The Howes lost a bid last month at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh to stop them being sent to Arizona to face trial, but the same court last week gave them leave to go to the Supreme Court.
The Bo’ness couple, who are accused of exporting chemicals to illegal drug labs producing highly addictive crystal meth, were arrested in January 2007 by police on behalf of the US Drug Enforcement Agency.
Mr Howes added: “We’re a year-and-a-half behind on our mortgage, so my wife is terrified we are going to lose the house.
“It’s a bungalow worth £135,000, and I don’t know where the children would go if it was repossessed.”
During last week’s appeal hearing, Lord Mackay said the judges would allow leave for the Howes to appeal on issues relating to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, governing the right to family life, which had arisen during the proceedings.
The US authorities allege the couple sold chemicals to customers through the internet knowing that they would be used to make crystal meth.
The Howes maintain they ran a legitimate chemical business.