Bell Yard assisted Chris Tappin and his family in attracting media interest in the absurdity of his extradition to the US. After his appeal was rejected by the High Court in February 2012, Chris was extradited on 24 February 2012 to Houston and then flown to El Paso, Texas awaiting a US trial.
Chris was incarcerated pending a bail hearing at a county prison across the border in Otero, New Mexico. It was hoped that the UK government would have been sufficiently moved by Mr Tappin’s plight, a 65 year old grandfather, President of Kent Golf Union and an upstanding member of his community, so as to seek to ensure his release on bail. The UK government let Chris down. In the event, it was his US lawyer’s offer to house him in his own home, which secured Chris’ bail after 8 weeks incarceration, to allow him to begin the process of defending himself against allegations of conspiring to export controlled items (batteries) from the USA, which the US Government claims were intended for us in hawk missiles in Iran. Throughout, Mr Tappin vehemently denied knowingly being party to such an act. Moreover he contended that the case against him was misguided and results from a sting operation by US Government agents. Following months of requests to receive the exculpatory evidence from the US DoJ, after which he was informed that transcripts of the FBI taped calls had been ‘lost’, Chris decided to put an end to the on-going uncertainty of his stay in the US. He plead guilty to one count of conspiracy, which allowed him to serve most of his 33 month sentence back home in the UK, close to his family.