Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd has hired a former model who once appeared on the Georgian version of Strictly Come Dancing as his defence lawyer, it has emerged.
Shepherd, 31, who handed himself in at a police station in the nation’s capital of Tbilisi last night, has secured the services of Mariam Kublashvili, considered a tabloid icon in Georgia.
Ms Kublashvili, believed to be in her 30s, was hired privately by Shepherd, who was apprehended six months after being convicted of killing 24-year-old Charlotte Brown during a speedboat date on the Thames.
On Georgia TV tonight she told how she may block Shepherd’s extradition back to the UK to face justice.
She said: ‘We may request not to extradite Jack Shepherd. We do not have the right documentation yet so we are not quite ready to speak about whether we will or not.’
The lawyer, who once starred in Georgian dance show ‘The Stars Are Dancing’ and appeared in a Martini Royale casting video, has insisted she is not being paid with British legal aid cash. He has, however, qualified for this in the UK with the taxpayer taking care of his appeal costs.
Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd has hired former model Mariam Kublashvili (pictured) who once appeared on the Georgian version of Strictly Come Dancing as his defence lawyer, it has emerged
Shepherd, 31, who handed himself in at a police station in the nation’s capital of Tbilisi last night, has secured the services of Mariam Kublashvili (pictured), considered a tabloid icon in Georgia
Jack Shepherd (pictured above) surrendered at a police station in Georgia on Wednesday
Ms Kublashvili, who runs her own law firm, lost her father at the age of five and had a tough life raised by strict mountain traditions, say reports
A local source said Ms Kublashvili thrives on high profile cases, adding: ‘I believe she had a huge interest in taking Shepherd’s case because it is an opportunity for publicity.’
Ms Kublashvili’s most famous case is defending Temirlan Machalikashvili’s family, a man allegedly linked to ISIS and killed by Georgian law enforcement.
Temirlan is from Pankisi Gorge, a place that Ms Kublashvili is connected to as she is ethnically Kist – a Chechen ethnic group in Georgia – from her mother’s side.
The Home Office and Sajid Javid are under pressure to secure Shepherd’s extradition ‘swiftly’ after the 31-year-old handed himself in.
He is due to appear in court either this afternoon or tomorrow and if everything goes smoothly the extradition is likely to take around two months, meaning he would finally be back behind bars in Britain by April.
Ms Kublashvili, who runs her own law firm, lost her father at the age of five and had a tough life raised by strict mountain traditions, say reports.
She was said to be very young when her first husband ran away to America and started a new life with another woman, say reports. Then she started her own law company, and won several tough cases.
She is now married to actor Levan Khurtsia and the couple have a son.
Ms Kublashvili once appeared in a Martini Royale casting video in Ibiza introducing herself as a 27-year-old lawyer.
‘I am lawyer by profession. Established my own company with a big staff which is very successful and I do women’s rights.
‘I want to show the whole world the real way to success, hard work, the value of time.
‘I think that success and luck can be achieved by the person who seeks for necessary possibilities and opportunities. For example, if I don’t find them I create them myself. Luck is not coming from the sky.’
Jack Shepherd (right) was convicted of killing 24-year-old Charlotte Brown (left) during a speedboat date on the Thames
Ms Kublashvili (pictured), who once starred in Georgian dance show ‘The Stars Are Dancing’ and is married to an actor, has insisted she is not being paid with British legal aid cash
Mariam Kublashvili is pictured with another of Shepherd’s lawyers, Tariel Kakabadze
News of the appointment comes as a top barrister warned Shepherd may never return to Britain if Georgia wants to ‘stand up’ to the UK by declining an extradition request.
George Hepburne Scott, a leading British barrister in the extradition field, warned that Shepherd may stay in Georgia ‘indefinitely’ if the country refuses a request from the UK Government to bring him home. Mr Scott said Georgia could easily decline the bid and may want to be seen to be ‘standing up’ to the UK.
A timeline of the speedboat killer
December 8 2015: Jack Shepherd and Charlotte Brown meet for a date where he takes her to the Shard for dinner, before taking a taxi back to Shepherd’s home, a houseboat in Hammersmith, where they took champagne on board his speedboat for their ride past parliament.
March 2018: Shepherd was charged with GBH following an incident in which he allegedly knocked a barman unconscious with a vodka bottle in a pub while ‘blind drunk’. He then failed to appear at a hearing for that case at the Old Bailey regarding Miss Brown’s manslaughter.
July 2018: An international arrest warrant is issued for Shepherd
July 26 2018: Shepherd, despite being absent from court was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence
July 27 2018: Shepherd is sentenced to six years’ imprisonment – Shepherd’s wife is then said to have told police that the 33-year-old had travelled to Georgia.
January 22 2019: Family of Charlotte meet with Savid Javid before making a television appeal for Shepherd to ‘do the right thing’
January 23 2019: Shepherd hands himself in to police in Georgia
This morning Miss Brown’s grieving sister Kate Brown slammed Shepherd for his ‘unbelievable arrogance’, while her father broke down in tears as he admitted there was ‘overwhelming relief’ as the family got a step closer to getting justice for their ‘beautiful’ daughter.
On Wednesday night the Crown Prosecution Service was preparing an extradition request to be lodged with Georgian legal authorities. However one of Shepherd’s lawyers has said it could be ‘months’ before he returns to the UK, despite experts suggesting the UK authorities would want to ‘urgently extradite him’.
It is said that Shepherd, from Exeter, could appear in court on either Thursday or Friday, but it is not clear how long the extradition process could take from there.
The length of the process will depend on both the Georgian authorities and on whether or not Shepherd consents to his return, if he does it could be a matter of weeks.
If he refuses to return to the UK, extradition could take a ‘considerable amount of time’.
Meanwhile, leading barrister Mr Hepburne Scott said: ‘The National Crime Agency will have to make a request of the Georgian State through the extradition treaty between the UK and Georgia.
‘In reality it will be highly political. There have been no extradition requests from Georgia to the UK in the past 10 years, so the UK has nothing Georgia wants in return.
‘Georgia may want to be seen as standing up to the UK and not bowing down to requests from the West. Mr Shepherd has also indicated he would fight extradition, so even if Georgia accepts the request to extradite him and a judge grants it, he can appeal that decision. This could take months and months.
‘Mr Shepherd is also saying that he’s an innocent man who was wrongly convicted.
‘If he’s claiming he has suffered a miscarriage of justice, a Georgian judge could refuse to extradite him on those grounds and he could remain in Georgia indefinitely.
‘But he would likely be confined to the state or other countries who are less UK-friendly such as Russia. He would not be able to live anywhere in the EU or America.’
Ms Kublashvili once appeared in a Martini Royale casting video in Ibiza (right) introducing herself as a 27-year-old lawyer
Jack Shepherd looks a different man having grown a thick beard during his time on the run. He is pictured at the Old Bailey in 2016
The speedboat (pictured above) owned by Jack Sheperd, who was found guilty of killing Charlotte Brown
This is while Home Secretary Sajid Javid said it is ‘vital Charlotte Brown’s family see justice done’ and UK law enforcement will ‘seek to swiftly extradite him to Britain’.
The web designer was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence and sentenced to six years in prison in his absence, although he was controversially granted leave to appeal in December.
He is said to have fled to Georgia because he has friends there and had stated that ‘there’s a lot going for Georgia’.
When arriving at the station in Georgia, he was seen laughing and joking with officers who then had to Google his name, before understanding that he was a man on the run, ITV News said.
Ms Brown’s family said they were overwhelmed with emotion after it emerged Shepherd had surrendered and her father said it was time for him to ‘atone’ for his actions.
However, speaking to the Press Association, another of Shepherd’s lawyers, Tariel Kakabadze, said he may go before a court in Tbilisi on Thursday or Friday, but suggested it may be ‘some time’ before he returns to the UK.
‘Extradition doesn’t happen in one or two days. All the documents will need to be translated, many things will need to be made ready,’ he said.
‘Depending on what evidence they show us… it might be very soon or it might be several months.’
Charlotte’s sister Kate (right with Charlotte) has slammed Shepherd for his behavior
A spokesman for the Extradition Lawyers Association said: ‘I would imagine it will take an age. Unless he consents to extradition, it will largely depend on political will.
‘There is very little extradition to or from Georgia. It happens very, very seldom and I can’t think of a single case. In terms of how long it would take, I would say it would be a very lengthy process unless the defendant consents to be extradited or he is deported as a result of his visa being revoked.’
Scotland Yard, the force leading the investigation, have now been updated by the National Crime Agency on the development and are awaiting confirmation of Shepherd’s identity and once his identity is secured, the Metropolitan Police have said proceedings ‘will begin immediately’ to extradite Shepherd, who has been the subject of an international arrest warrant.
Under Georgian law, prosecutors are required to apply for restriction measures for a person wanted in another country within 48 hours of them being arrested.