An American woman has lost her latest bid to be released from custody after arguing the United States had unfairly used the COVID-19 pandemic to delay her return to California to face charges over a fatal car crash.
After a ruling by a single judge of the Federal Court that her continued detention was not unreasonable, Andrea Dorothy Chan Reyes had appealed to the full court.
She argued that the US had relied on simply broad assertions about the impact of the coronavirus to explain its delay in completing her extradition within a mandated two-month period.
She asserted there was no specific evidence as to precisely how the pandemic had prevented her return, what would make travel dangerous and what was being done to mitigate the risks.
In his judgment earlier this year Justice Richard White found that given the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, it was reasonable that US marshals had not come to Australia to take Chan Reyes back.
"This is not a case in which the US did nothing to give effect to the extradition until close to the expiration of the two-month period and only then found itself in difficulties," the judge said.
"It had been acting with the intention of giving effect to the extradition well within the two-month period and had made plans to do so."
In its ruling on Wednesday, the full court found that Justice White had not erred in his assessment of the case.
It found that the explanations for the delay in completing the extradition were plausible "in the context of a global pandemic unprecedented in modern times".
"The issue was not confined to the ability to travel, but extended to other requirements, such as quarantine, with its own difficulties, including an extended stay by the escort officers in Australia, rather than just a return trip," the full court said.
Chan Reyes was first arrested in Australia on a US warrant in April 2018.
Documents later released by Adelaide Magistrates Court alleged she killed a cyclist, 46-year-old Agustin Rodriguez Junior, in a car crash in Los Angeles in January 2017.
She is accused of dragging the man nearly 300 metres before he was dislodged and then driving away.
In court appearances last year she sought to be released on bail but her applications were refused, with a magistrate ruling she would be a flight risk.
Australian Associated Press