Select Committee on Home Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses(Questions 120-130)



  120. You can certainly see a problem from the Lord Chancellor's point of view.
  (Mr Nicholls) Yes. One way you could do it—and I had not thought any of this through, and I apologise—is to permit a case to go to the High Court with leave. In other words, you would have to get leave from the magistrate; if refused, leave to the High Court, and it could be dealt with on paper.

  Chairman: We will reflect on that. In conclusion, if there were one change you wanted to see to this Bill, what would it be?

David Winnick

  121. Drop it.
  (Mr Nicholls) I would like to see, going back to the older legislation, a prima facie case; I would want the rules in relation to evidence seriously relaxed; I would want dual criminality; and I would want the "too many bites of the cherry" eliminated. But that is, I accept, unfashionable.


  122. Ms Alegre?
  (Ms Alegre) If I am allowed only one, then the seven day discretion after withdrawal of the warrant.

  123. That seems to me to be a relatively minor point.
  (Ms Alegre) Presumably you are being kept another seven days on the basis that something else might turn up in order not to release you, which is arbitrary detention.

  124. You are allowed more than one point.
  (Ms Alegre) The second point I would say would be the declaration on speciality, but I would not want the UK to make a declaration that consent was presumed to have been given for proceedings on other bases. Thirdly, I would say the issue of retrospective effect, the article 7 point that we raised earlier, that the European Arrest Warrant provisions should only be applied from a specific date and not continued back into the past indefinitely. A final one would be on the death penalty, that I think there should be an absolute bar in category 1 cases.

  125. Mr Crossman?
  (Mr Crossman) I have nothing further to add.

  126. On dual criminality, would an amendment saying, "We will not extradite unless the offence is a crime in our country" do?
  (Ms Alegre) It would not implement the European Arrest Warrant. That is what the Bill is intended to do.

  127. They are not very likely to go along with that.
  (Ms Alegre) It would not be implementing what I think the intention is.

  128. Another way would be a strictly limited list of offences or grades of offences which are highly likely to be offences in EU countries. I suppose that means pruning the list, does it not?
  (Ms Alegre) That would amount to the same. It is impossible to tell what the law is in what will be 25 countries.

  129. You are saying it is not likely to be resolvable, that point.
  (Ms Alegre) Not if the arrest warrant is to be implemented.

  130. I think it is the Government's intention that it should be implemented!
  (Ms Alegre) Yes.

  Chairman: We will reflect on those points and certainly propose some amendments in due course. Mr Nicholls, Mr Crossman and Ms Alegre, I am extremely grateful to you for coming. You have been extremely helpful in illuminating what is a area of darkness for most people. Thank you very much.

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