Crown seeks to appeal decision not to extradite New Zealand resident wanted for murder in China

Kyung Yup Kim is wanted for murder in China.
Kyung Yup Kim is wanted for murder in China. Photo credit: Getty

The Crown has sought leave to appeal the decision not to extradite a Korean-born New Zealand resident, who is wanted for murder in China.

Kyung Yup Kim is accused of killing a woman in Shanghai in December 2009. He has denied the accusation. 

Citing human rights concerns, the Court of Appeal quashed the previous Government's decision to extradite Kim on the charge - despite a former Justice Minister twice ordering for Kim's extradition to China.

Justice Minister Andrew Little's office says it can now confirm the Crown has sought leave of the Supreme Court to appeal that decision. However, he said he cannot comment further on the matter. 

"Given that the matter is before the courts, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the appeal or case generally," says Little.

"I suppose it doesn't surprise," criminal lawyer Michael Bott says about the appeal. "The Court of Appeal's approach affirmed the Bill of Rights, where they held that Mr Kim has a fundamental right to a fair trial. 

"There is no hope, as the Court of Appeal found after hearing expert evidence, of Mr Kim having any chance of a fair trial in China, where results are often politically-driven and predetermined.

"The Crown are themselves bound by the Bill of Rights Act and should adopt rights-affirming approaches in relation to their responsibilities. Here, it appears they have not."

Bott believes extradition is not the right approach in relation to Kim's human rights, citing China's "appalling record in relation to its justice system.

"In relation to the well-known knowledge we have [of torture], established by expert evidence and UN reports, I would say this is not the right approach... in essence, what they are trying to do is push China's appalling record under the carpet and look the other way," Bott says.

"The Court of Appeal decided they couldn't do that."

"New Zealand has obligations under international law to refuse to return a person to a jurisdiction in which they will be at substantial risk of torture, or where they will not receive a fair trial," Appeal Court Judge Helen Winkelmann said in a written judgment, Reuters reports.

Based on these human rights concerns, Bott hopes the Crown's appeal will not be successful.