Call for extradition of disgraced Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong
SHAMED Tour de France cyclist Lance Armstrong should be extradited to Britain and face justice for perjuring himself in the UK courts.
That's the view of Martin Steer of Everest Road, Fishponds, who has written to the director of public prosecutions to underline his point.
Mr Steer, 54, says Armstrong perjured himself in this country because, despite lying, he successfully sued The Sunday Times for damages after they published an article by David Walsh saying Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs in 2006.
In his claim, Armstrong, through his London solicitors, issued a "robust denial" of ever taking any such drugs during his career.
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The paper is now trying to recoup the loss but Mr Steer feels the legal action against the disgraced seven-time Tour de France winner should go even further.
"I feel very strongly about it," Mr Steer, who took early retirement from his role with the Planning Inspectorate to pursue writing, said.
"He should be extradited to the UK to face justice. I think it would be very appropriate for that to happen.
"He used the British courts to perjure himself and should be sent back to the UK to answer for his comments and then if he got the same punishment as (Jeffrey) Archer and (Jonathan) Aitken then good."
Both Archer and Aitken lied in libel cases brought by them against newspapers that had published big stories about them.
Archer, an author and Tory politician, was found guilty of perjury in 2001 and jailed for four years.
Aitken, a former Conservative Member of Parliament, was convicted of perjury in 1999 and received an 18-month prison sentence.
Mr Steer said Armstrong's deceit also deeply bothers him as he made so much money from his actions and, worse still, ruined the careers of cyclists who could not compete with his drug fuelled performances.
"It's not so much the fact that he took The Sunday Times to court that bothers me," Mr Steer said.
"For me it is trying to redress an injustice where he has made hundreds of thousands of pounds from a fraudulent career and has done untold damage to the sport.
"He chalked off the careers of many cyclists who may have been better but could not compete on a level playing field because they were not taking performance-enhancing drugs.
"That means many, many very good cyclists who didn't take drugs never fulfilled their career."
Mr Steer admits to not being a cycling fan himself but says even he was impressed by what at the time seemed superhuman feats.
"I am not a cycle racing fan but even I was astonished at his achievements," he said.
"He won arguably then most punishing race in the world seven times and even came back from testicular cancer to do so.
"He seemed superhuman - but it's all based on false premises and that's very hard to forgive.
"My wife hero-worshipped him but it was all a lie.
"More annoyingly no doubt he will produce a book about all his recent experiences and be laughing all the way to the bank."
The Sunday Times paid Armstrong £300,000 in an out-of-court settlement in 2006 but court costs and interest took the figure lost to £1 million.
Now that Armstrong has admitted to using performance enhancing drugs, the paper is suing the disgraced cyclist to recoup the loss.
In a statement The Sunday Times said: "We watched Lance Armstrong's interview with interest and noted his numerous admissions regarding taking performance-enhancing drugs. The Sunday Times believes that our case for recovering the £1m plus he obtained from us by fraud is now even stronger. We will be pursuing that case vigorously."