Sullivan is described as one of the US's most-wanted alleged sex criminals (Interpol)
Sullivan is described as one of the US\'s most-wanted alleged sex criminals (Interpol)

The High Court in London has blocked a US Government's attempt to extradite a man accused of child sex crimes.

Shawn Sullivan, 43, is accused of raping a 14-year-old girl and sexually molesting two 11-year-old girls in Minnesota between 1993 and 1994.

He has been described as one of the US's most-wanted alleged sex criminals, and has also been convicted of sexually assaulting two 12-year-old girls in Ireland.

Sullivan won his appeal against extradition after US authorities could not give assurances he would not be placed in a controversial sex-offenders treatment programme in Minnesota.

His lawyers argued that Sullivan would be declared "sexually dangerous" and placed on the programme without trial and no hope of release.

High Court judges Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Eady ruled there was a real risk Sullivan would be subjected to an order of civil commitment to the treatment programme in a "flagrant denial" of his human rights if he was to be extradited, a right protected by Article 5.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

After the US government refused to give assurance there would be no commitment order made, Sullivan won his appeal under the 2003 Extradition Act.

Sullivan's lawyer, Ben Brandon, previously told the court that no one had been released from the programme since it began in its current form in 1988.

Lord Justice Moses said under the programme "there is no requirement that the offences took place recently nor, indeed, that the misconduct resulted in conviction, provided that the misconduct is substantiated by credible evidence".

Sullivan left the US as prosecutors filed charges against him and was later found to be living in Ireland. He then came to London using an Irish passport with his name spelt in Gaelic as "O'Suilleabhain".