Anthony Michael Kubica still sits in local custody almost four months after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled there was enough evidence for the Shawnigan Lake man to be extradited to California to face murder charges.
Kubica, 61, is facing extradition to answer to charges of murder and kidnapping of Palm Springs resident Marie Darling, a 78-year-old wealthy widow who disappeared from her home 27 years ago.
Robert Mulligan, from the Mulligan Tam Pearson law firm in Victoria, which is defending Kubica, said that despite the ruling of B.C. Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Duncan on March 6 that Kubica could be extradited to face the charges, the case is now in the hands of federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Mulligan said the minister’s approval is required for an extradition to take place after a judicial process determines there is enough evidence for a suspect to face charges in another country.
“The minister has a broad range of issues to consider in these cases beyond just the evidence and whether the case passed the legal test for extradition,” he said.
“These include the nature of the international extradition treaties we have with other countries in these cases, and other considerations as well.”
Mulligan pointed to the case of Ottawa professor Hassan Diab who spent three years in a French jail after being extradited from Canada before French judges dismissed the allegations against Diab and ordered his immediate release.
French authorities had accused Diab of being involved in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that killed four people and injured dozens of others.
Wilson-Raybould has since ordered an independent review of Diab’s extradition from Canada.
“The question that has to be asked is if Canada’s extradition laws are adequate,” Mulligan said.
“This is a major responsibility of the minister. Extradition orders from the courts are not just rubber stamped by the minister, who has to pay careful attention as to whether it’s appropriate to send Canadians to other countries to face criminal charges.”
Mulligan said he expects it will be another two or three months before the minister makes a final decision on extraditing Kubica, but no definite dates have been given.
According to the declaration in support of an arrest warrant for Kubica that was filed with the Superior Court of California in Oct. 2017, Darling’s body was found by hikers by the side of a highway shortly after her disappearance 27 years ago in a sleeping bag with her feet wrapped in duct tape.
An autopsy performed on the body found the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head.
More than $184,000 was transferred out of Darling’s Swiss bank account to an account in Anguilla that Kubica, who lived and operated a company in Palm Springs at the time, had allegedly opened around the same time the body was found.