Fred Tobin wins battle !
on 29th October 2008
Dr Gerald Toben today won his fight against extradition to Germany where he is wanted for publishing anti-Semitic material on his website
Suspected 'Holocaust denier' Dr Gerald Toben today won his fight against extradition to Germany where he is wanted for publishing anti-Semitic material on his website.
Dr Toben, 64, a prominent Australian academic, is wanted to stand trial for posting the alleged diatribes between 2000 and 2004.
The German authorities claim they are 'of an anti-Semitic and/or revisionist nature'.
In the European Arrest Warrant issued in October 2004, he is accused of approving of or playing down the murder of the Jews by the Nazis.
But District Judge Daphne Wickham ruled the warrant invalid as it contains inadequate detail about the offences.
It neither states the name of the website nor where the propaganda is said to have been published from - merely referring to the 'world-wide internet'.
After discharging Toben, Judge Wickham granted him bail pending an appeal by the German authorities.
But he was not expected to be released today, after she imposed a series of strict conditions including a £100,000 security.
Grey wavy-haired Toben, smartly dressed in a suit, appeared pleased on hearing the judge's decision from the glass-fronted dock at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.
The public gallery was packed with his supporters.
Judge Wickham rejected an argument from Melanie Cumberland, for the German authorities, that the required information could be acquired.
The judge said: 'Compliance, in my view, cannot be fulfilled by a drip-feed of information as and when the issuing authority provides it.
'I find that the particulars are vague and imprecise, I find the warrant invalid and therefore discharge the defendant.'
She added that she had not been required to decide at this stage whether the alleged crimes were valid extradition offences.
Toben has been in custody since October 1, when he was arrested at Heathrow Airport on a flight from America, on his way to Dubai.
He was refused bail at that time because it was feared he could easily evade the authorities.
Ms Cumberland opposed bail today but Ben Watson, defending, successfully argued it would be 'abhorrent' to keep him behind bars any longer.
His other bail conditions include residence at an approved address, written confirmation from the Australian High Commission of which passports he holds, and not to access the internet.
He is also banned from giving press interviews. These were safeguards 'to prevent any public order act offences', said Judge Wickham.
Toben claims he will not get a fair trial in Germany.
The controversial author was reportedly jailed in 1999 at Mannheim prison for breaching Germany's Holocaust Law Section 130, prohibiting anyone from 'defaming the dead'.
Toben's Adelaide Institute website has drawn criticism for many years.
In 2000 he fought an order by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission in Australia to remove its 'offensive' content.
The commission claimed it breached Australia's Racial Discrimination Act.
Toben completed his Dr of Philosophy course at the University of Stuttgart in 1977 and taught in schools and colleges all over the world.
He founded the Adelaide Institute and is the author of 10 books on education, political science and history.
When his Heathrow plane was cleared of passengers flamboyant Toben moved seats which officers suspected was a bid to evade detection.
When cautioned he replied: 'You can't arrest me on British soil.' At an earlier hearing he accused the 'world press' of wrongly portraying him as 'horrible, terrible, vicious' and said: 'I must respond to that, because this is nonsense.'
Attempting to reassure the court he would not jump bail, he added: 'The world is my prison.
'I'm well known and to suggest there's no honour in my person is to slander me.'
Toben went on to claim he could not be tried in Germany due to 'double jeopardy', referring to ongoing proceedings on the same issue in Adelaide.
He also suggested the new warrant was a re-hash of the old matters he was convicted of in 1999 but with a 'cyber-crime' veneer.
Toben appeared to admit he left Germany without serving his prison sentence after paying 6,000 Deutschmarks for bail.
He said: 'I can't defend myself in Germany because if I open my mouth the prosecutor says I'm in contempt.'