Extradition Bill

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Mr. Wills: I assure the hon. Gentleman that we hear what he says and listen with sympathy to his request. We will do our best to accede as quickly as possible.

Mr. Hawkins: In the light of that helpful assurance, I shall not pursue the stand part debate.

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Question put and agreed.

Clause 157 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 158

Warrants: special procedure material and excluded material

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Burnett: Committee sittings are useful to tease out the Government's underlying thought processes and to place certain matters on the record. The clause contains powers to allow seizure of excluded material and, I presume, powers to enter premises without consent. I draw the Committee's attention to subsection (6), which is an important provision. It states:

    ''Material falls within this subsection if it would be likely to be admissible evidence at a trial in the relevant part of the United Kingdom for the offence specified in the application for the warrant''.

I presume the Minister will confirm that in this case dual criminality still applies. We are talking about offences in this country rather than one of the 32 offences that we have criticised in the past because of their nebulous and uncertain nature. We talked about swindling, racism, xenophobia and so forth. I would like to know whether dual criminality is being preserved in subsection (6).

I turn to subsection (8), which concerns the requirement. I should like to know a little more from the Minister about paragraph (c), which specifies that

    ''the material contains information which is subject to a restriction on disclosure or an obligation of secrecy contained in an enactment''.

I would also like confirmation on the record that the material that might be sought will not breach the principle of legal privilege, so documents and notes kept by lawyers on behalf of an individual will not and cannot be sought by this enactment.

Mr. Wills: As always, the hon. Gentleman raises some important points. I hope to reassure him on all of them. I remind him that much of the detail will be in the code of practice, which will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. There will be an opportunity to scrutinise the provision in detail. I agree that it repays such scrutiny.

The hon. Gentleman asked whether dual criminality would apply. I am not sure whether he was asking if it would apply sometimes or whether the principle was being asserted in the clause. The answer to both questions is no. There is no principle of dual criminality. There are circumstances in which it might apply and others in which it might not apply. I hope that is of some reassurance to him.

Mr. Burnett: In clause 158(6), could

    ''the offence specified in the application for the warrant''

be one of the 32 offences? It seems likely. Furthermore, the rules on admissibility are presumably the UK rules. Is that right?

Mr. Wills: The hon. Gentleman seems to have arrived at the answer without much assistance from

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me. It depends on the offence for which extradition is being sought. If it is an offence for which dual criminality applies, dual criminality will apply, but if not, it will not. So if it is one of the 32 offences, it will fall into that category. I hope that that answers his question but, as I said, I think that he already got there himself.

I have also been asked about subsection (8), and I hope that I can give some reassurance by saying that it is based on provisions in paragraph 12 of schedule 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 for the issue of a similar warrant. We are essentially clarifying the position on extradition after the Rottman case. There are no huge advances or changes of principle involved; it is a clarifying measure that is rooted in PACE and requested and supported by the police.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 158 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 159

Entry and search of premises for

purposes of arrest

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Hawkins: Although we were not talking about extradition in the first instance, the tragic murder of the police detective in Manchester yesterday has put into sharp focus the sensitivities and dangers that the police face when they enter and search premises. Will the Minister say what is envisaged by the clause and subsequent clauses? He has spoken about the link with PACE, and we referred in our first debate this afternoon to the way in which the arrangements are welcomed by the Metropolitan police and police services throughout the country. We have concerns about the entry and search of premises, so will the Minister clarify the position?

Mr. Wills: Again, the clause is primarily a consequence of the Rottman case, and we are trying to clarify the position. It is firmly rooted in PACE, in replicating powers that are contained in sections 17 and 19 of that Act, and I am sure that Members will accept that it will sometimes be impossible to obtain a warrant before entering premises to arrest someone who is wanted for extradition, if that person is trying to run away, for example. That is why we have included the clause.

I hope that I can reassure the hon. Gentleman by saying that, with the codes of practice and the inclusion of the affirmative resolution procedure, there will be plenty of opportunities for Parliament to satisfy itself about the detail. As I said, the clause is about clarifying the position, as requested and supported by the police.

Angela Watkinson (Upminster): I am pleased to participate in only one Committee this afternoon, which means that I can pay somewhat better attention to the proceedings. I rise in some trepidation as I am flanked on each side by a lawyer, which I clearly am not. I shall couch my question in layman's terms.

References have been made to the recent murder of a police officer. Is the Bill the appropriate piece of

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legislation to ensure additional protection for police officers in the execution of their duties in such circumstances, as well as under the Terrorism Act 2000? I note that clause 161(9), which we have not yet discussed, states:

    ''Nothing in this section affects the power conferred by section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000''.

Will the Minister assure us that there is adequate protection, or say whether additional protection is needed in legislation for police officers in the circumstances that we are discussing?

Mr. Wills: I understand the hon. Lady's concerns. We are all deeply concerned about what happened. However, the hon. Lady and I are talking about different things. She will forgive me if I do not comment in any detail about what happened, as we are still digesting the news. We are talking about extradition, and the circumstances in Manchester were rather different, as far as we can tell. I understand her concerns, but we are talking about a different set of issues.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 159 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 160 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 161

Search of person on arrest

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Hawkins: I shall make a point that may seem minor at first, but I hope that the Minister and those who advise him will take it seriously. It may interest some members of the Committee, many of whom entered the House of Commons at or since the 1997 election. As a Government Back Bencher during the 199297 Parliament, I served on the Committee that considered the Criminal Justice and Public Disorder Bill, and made a small but important contribution to English law that resulted in quite a lot of correspondence. The then hon. Member for Milton Keynes, North-East, Mr. Peter Butler, and I tabled an amendment that the Government accepted after some debate. It was a small amendment, but it enabled the police to do a great deal more searching. Since then, Mr. Butler and I, to our surprise, have received quite a lot of correspondence from police officers.

A police magazine picked up on our amendment to give the police extra powers. We have been told that it is possible to carry out more effective searches because of our provision. It is always nice for a parliamentarian to know that a change that one has made, however small, has had some positive effect. I was immediately reminded of that when I read the clause and wondered whether I should move a similar amendment. I thought that it would be more appropriate to describe it on stand part and give the Government the opportunity to table a similar amendment, in Committee or on Report, if they are persuaded by the argument that I am about to advance.

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The change to the Criminal Justice and Public Disorder Bill was the adding of the word ''hat'' after the word ''coat'', which became known as the Butler-Hawkins amendment. That change was of some significance, because Mr. Butler and I had practised as lawyers in the midlands before entering the House of Commons and knew that Rastafarian offenders tended to hide drugs or weapons under their hats. The police were severely constrained in what they had to do if they were not given the right to search under a Rastafarian's hat. As I said, we debated this amendment at some length and managed to persuade my right hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border (David Maclean), then Minister of State at the Home Office and now the Opposition Chief Whip, and ministerial officials. I am sure that there are files on this somewhere, buried in the recesses of the Home Office, that say that the Government went along with the proposal.

The clause states:

    ''The powers . . . do not authorise a constable to require a person to remove any of his clothing in public, other than an outer coat, jacket or gloves.''

The Minister will not be able to give me an answer today, but I ask him to consider the idea and discuss it with his officials. If he can return with a Government amendment, that would have even greater power than an Opposition amendment, which the Government might feel duty bound to oppose, simply because it came from the Opposition. I want the change in the law to be made. It may sound trivial, but I consider it quite important. That is why I went into a little detail in setting out the background.

 
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