Court hearing to determine identity of alleged fugitive under way

A court hearing to determine the identity of a man believed by US authorities to be alleged rapist who faked his own death and fled to Scotland has begun.

The man, whom officials in the United States have said is Nicholas Rossi, is wanted for raping a 21-year-old in Utah, and for attacks on other women.

The 35-year-old, who claims to be called Arthur Knight, has been fighting an extradition hearing by US authorities since he was arrested in December 2021.

Following a stream of preliminary hearings which saw the man fire six lawyers and claim he was being tortured in prison, a case to determine his identity commenced on Monday.

The extradition hearing is taking place at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. (Andrew Milligan/PA)
The extradition hearing is taking place at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. (Andrew Milligan/PA)

He appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in a wheelchair chained to custody officers who were walking closely behind him.

Dressed in a navy pinstripe suit, the man wheeled himself into the court building without saying a word.

Asked at the beginning of the hearing if he was asked if he was Nicholas Rossi or Arthur Knight, he replied: “Arthur Knight.”

His lawyer, Mungo Bovey KC, proceeded to tell the court of multiple issues concerning legal proceedings with regard to his client.

One of these included complaints that some information from a solicitor for the man “seems to be misconstrued by the sheriff”.

He told the court there were legal concerns over the way the warrant for the man’s arrest was issued, and claims his client did not receive the provisional arrest certificate (PAC) after his arrest in December.

Advocate depute Paul Harvey, however, disputed this, claiming action from a previous sheriffs had been what was required of them, and that the man had received the PAC.

Sheriff Norman McFadyen adjourned the hearing until Monday afternoon to address the lawyers’ submissions.