Fugitive Tobias Bowen, 48, fled New York after being charged with two counts of raping a child but is now free to remain here after a ruling yesterday
A foreign doctor on the run after being accused of child rape has found a safe haven in Britain.
Fugitive Tobias Bowen, 48, fled New York for four years ago after being charged with two counts of raping a child, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.
The fugitive also spent time in the Netherlands before being captured by police here, and has been in prison facing extradition but could now walk free within days.
District Judge Margaret Rose said: “I have found after hearing the evidence that extradition would not be incompatible with the defendant’s Article 6 or Article 10 rights.
“However, his Article 5 right to liberty and security would be at risk if he were to go back and convicted in New York state and face indefinite imprisonment, therefore he is discharged.
“I understand this is a decision the US government wants to appeal.”
Bowen, a doctor who ran a public hospital in his native Liberia, was arrested after getting off a plane at a London airport last April and refused bail in May.
He vanished after supporters found 10,000 dollars bail money following his charge with rape and criminal sex act in March 2010 and despite several appeals remained at large.
Prosecutor Daniel Sternberg told the court: “Bowen is undoubtedly a fugitive from justice from the legal powers of the United States.
“He was granted bail for a huge amount of 10,000 and subsequently left the country in 2010. He was given bail and released and his record is not good, he has not attended court and travelled in Liberia and the Netherlands.”
But Malcolm Hawkes, defending, spoke of Bowen’s ‘good character’ and argued he should be allowed to return to his wife and young family in Milton Keynes.
He had ‘lived openly’ in Liberia but had now surrendered his Dutch and Liberian passports, Mr Hawkes said.
He added: ‘The time has come to give my client the benefit of the doubt. It would be regrettable if the appeal against today’s decision were to take some time and he were to spend a year in jail.
‘This is likely to be a non answerable case, his proper place is with his family and the UK is his safe haven.’
Judge Rose remanded Bowen, Milton Keynes, Bucks, in custody until US authorities could be contacted but said he could be bailed with a surety of £10,000.
Bail conditions would include no access to his passport, no international travel and a 12 hour electronic curfew plus daily reports to a police station.