Extradition for child-rape suspect

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2007, 12:00am

Kenneth Freeman, a 45-year-old American wanted on charges of child rape and child pornography, consented to extradition yesterday after his attempt to exclude reporters from hearing committal proceedings in Eastern Court failed.

Freeman had earlier said that he would contest a warrant of extradition.

'I believe it is to my best interest [to consent],' he told Magistrate Abu Bakar bin Wahab.

Freeman's extradition will only come after the chief executive has approved it.

Freeman is wanted in the US for alleged offences including child rape and manufacturing, possessing and distributing child pornography.

Wearing a white shirt, and chained at the wrists, he looked calm and attentive during the hearing.

Before Freeman expressed his willingness to be extradited, his lawyer, Giles Surman, made an application to Mr Wahab to restrict media coverage of the hearing.

He argued that the media should be ordered from the hearing, saying the evidence presented by the Department of Justice might prejudice a jury if a trial were to be held in the US after his extradition.

Mr Wahab refused Mr Surman's application.

Outside court, Mr Surman said his client maintained his innocence, even though he had agreed to be extradited.

Mr Surman said he could not confirm when the extradition would take place, but said it was expected to be within six weeks.

Freeman was arrested at the airport after arriving from the mainland on May 2. He had been on a list of the 15 most-wanted fugitives in the US, and was held at the request of the US State Department.