Dorothy Barnett agrees to extradition order in Australian court - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Dorothy Barnett agrees to extradition order in Australian court

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By Stacy Jacobson

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA (WCIV) – A mother charged with kidnapping her daughter from her Lowcountry home nearly 20 years ago has agreed to be extradited back to the United States.

Dorothy Lee Barnett went before a judge in Australia about 10 p.m. EDT and consented to the extradition order.

However, she is still several steps away from actually stepping foot on U.S. soil.

Now that Barnett has consented to the order, the Justice Minister will then need to decide whether or not she should be surrendered to the United States. During this process, the Minister will accept submissions from her lawyer on reasons why she should not be surrendered and remain in Australia.

It could take some time before the Minister announces his decision – as it can be a lengthy process, said the media advisor for the Justice Minister.

Her attorney could argue that she not be surrendered, given the length of time that has lapsed since the abduction, which he is expected to do, according to ABC News journalist Jo Skinner.

Skinner said Barnett's consent means she moves into the fourth phase of Australian extradition.

According to court documents explaining the process, "if the person consents to extradition, the Attorney-General or the Minister decides whether to surrender the person as soon as is reasonably practicable."

In deciding whether to extradite a person who has been found eligible for extradition, the Attorney-General or the Minister considers:

  • whether there are any extradition objections
  • whether there are substantial grounds for believing that the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture on surrender to the foreign country
  • whether the offence is punishable by a penalty of death
  • whether the foreign country concerned has given a speciality assurance in relation to the person
  • treaty requirements, and
  • any other issue.

If the Justice Minister decides to extradite Barnett, she will enter the fifth and final phase of the process. But American authorities will have two months to remove her from the country – if they don't, she will be able to petition the court for her release.

The extradition hearing was delayed twice before Thursday.

Barnett kidnapped her 10-month-old daughter Savanna in 1994, authorities said. At the time, her father Harris Todd had full custody of the baby.

U.S. authorities have charged Barnett with child abduction and passport fraud charges. Barnett was arrested in November 2013, despite being located two years prior.

"I don't care if I ever see her ever again. But, I have no animosity for her. She's my daughter's mother and that's what she is and that's what she'll always be," Todd said regarding his ex-wife.

Todd expressed his frustration with the international legal system.

"I don't understand the international aspect of this. The fact that the wheel turned so slowly was stunning to me. I suppose I dropped back into my naive state, now that I know where she is. I just didn't have any expectation that it would take so long or that so many wrenches would be thrown into the machinery," Harris Todd said.

Todd has only had sporadic communication via email with his daughter since she was found, he said.

  • Stacy Jacobson

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