Budapest court of appeal rules Oliver Karafa should be sent back to Canada to face charges

Police says Oliver Karafa, Yun (Lucy) Lu Li, 25, were wanted for first-degree murder and attempted murder following a shooting in Stoney Creek, Ont. in February, 2021.  (Hamilton Police Service - image credit)
Police says Oliver Karafa, Yun (Lucy) Lu Li, 25, were wanted for first-degree murder and attempted murder following a shooting in Stoney Creek, Ont. in February, 2021. (Hamilton Police Service - image credit)

A Hungarian court of appeal has ruled Oliver Karafa should be sent back to Canada to face charges of murder and attempted murder in connection with a shooting in Stoney Creek, Ont.

Warrants were issued for Karafa's arrest, along with his co-accused, Yun (Lucy) Lu Li, following the shooting on Feb. 28 that left Tyler Pratt dead.

The 39-year-old was found shot on Arvin Avenue. A 26-year-old woman was also seriously injured.

Detectives said Li and Karafa, who are both from Toronto, left for eastern Europe within 24 hours of the shooting.

The Metropolitan Court of Budapest previously alleged Karafa was the shooter.

The two travelled through several countries, including Slovakia and the Czech Republic, before arriving in Budapest, Det.-Sgt. Jim Callender previously told reporters, describing their departure from Canada as "unusual."

But while Li returned to Canada on July 12, Karafa had been fighting extradition.

The Budapest-Capital Regional Court of Appeal announced its decision in a media released shared Wednesday.

It upheld the decision of the lower court and ruled the conditions for Karafa to be sent back to Canada had been met.

Karafa raised concerns about trial

The Toronto man had argued his "life and physical integrity" and right to a fair trial could not be guaranteed if he was put in custody in Canada, according to the appeal court.

Karafa hired a private investigator, and his lawyers tried to use photos, media reports and other materials to allege Pratt "had extensive criminal connections and his associates want to avenge [his] death," it stated in its release.

The court said he also made allegations of "corruption and crime" against Hamilton police and the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre.

Court rejected arguments

But the court rejected Karafa's arguments following a reply from Canadian judicial authorities that outlined steps to ensure the accused is safe and the rights of an accused person.

"All this 'evidence' cannot be considered even in itself as objective, reliable, accurate and sufficiently up-to-date information on the conditions of detention" in Canada, it stated, referring to Karafa's defence.

It ordered items confiscated from him be handed over to Canadian authorities.

The release also mentions an attempt to have Karafa extradited to Slovakia, the country where he was born, but said the court found it wasn't possible to do so.

It went on to say that even if Pratt has criminal connections there is no basis for halting extradition out of safety concerns.

"Criminal relationships are not bound by national borders, which means that the accused would not be safe in practically any country in the world," the release reads, before adding, "The court, therefore, established correctly and lawfully that the conditions for extradition have been met and ordered the arrest for surrender of the accused."

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