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Lord Goodhart: Oh! I am sorry. I shall simply deal with Amendment No. 36. I sympathise with the reasoning behind it, but I have to say that I see no logical connection between the Bill and the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill. I would have thought it undesirable to put such a time limit into primary legislation. I think that "as soon as practicable" will do for these purposes. What I have said applies equally to the corresponding amendments to Part 2.
Lord Wedderburn of Charlton: I put my name to Amendment No. 33, which I regret, only because it prevented the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, from putting his name to it. The amendment is very sensible. To put it somewhat strongly, the whole process is reduced to a kind of inferior parlour game. When a person objects to being arrested and says, "I do not know what it's all about", he is told, "Ha! You didn't ask for the warrant so you can't have it".
I do not know how many Members of the Committee know anyone who has been arrested by a policeman. Very often, such people are quite frightened and not in a state where they can ask for anything. They are simply desperate not to be arrested. The provision is absurd. The amendment is a test of Home Office obduracy. If the Minister has a brief headed "Resist", I suggest with great respect that he puts it aside and addresses the common sense of the matter. The warrant should be produced. The subsection would still continue, quite reasonably, to say "as soon as practicable". What on earth is wrong with that?
I and my noble friend Lady Turner tabled Amendment No. 39, which is grouped with Amendment No. 33. It is entirely my fault that, as it appears on the latest Marshalled List, it is slightly altered from its original tabling. It now reads that there would be a new subsection saying:
I take it to be common ground that it is desirable for the person being arrested to know why he is being arrested. That may be wholly clear in the warrant but, despite all the statements and details that the Bill says that it must carry, that may not be the case. The amendment would put the responsibility on the arresting authority to do what is reasonably practicable to see that he or she knows the reason.
One answer that is often given in discussion of this matter is that we should let the person's lawyer explain the reason to him. That might have the advantage of someone who is favourable to the arrested person wanting to get quite clearly in his mind what he is being arrested for. However, there are all sorts of problems with that. First, the arrested person may not have access to a lawyer, or certainly not in time to prevent deprivation of liberty on grounds that are unknown. That is why the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee concluded that the arrested person should be informed of the matters for which he has been arrested.
The availability of lawyers to the arrested person may be a problem, if that person is surrendered to a foreign jurisdiction. The investigations of Fair Trials Abroad show, in the organisation's report for 20023 that is available electronically, that in France, Belgium, Italy and Spain it is very difficult to get a lawyer or legal assistance. Indeed, in France of all places, it is reported that the,
Baroness Turner of Camden: I support the amendments spoken to by my noble friend Lord Wedderburn of Charlton, and Amendment No. 33, which seems eminently sensible and which was moved by the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson.
In the case of Amendment No. 39, we may be dealing with people who are vulnerable and frightened, and it is necessary to ensure that such people realise the reasons for their arrest. That is why we tabled our amendment, which states that if a person asks for an explanation of the statements,
Viscount Bledisloe: It seems beyond doubt that a person who has been arrested should as soon as possible be given a copy of the document on which he has been arrested. That is the only place where he can find out what he has been arrested for, as it contains not only the charge but also the statement and the information. If he has not got that, how an earth can he know what he is to do about it and whether he committed the offence in question?
If the Minister is minded to oppose the amendment, will he tell us what the situation is if someone is arrested for an offence in England and charged by police? Surely, the police are required to give me a copy of the charge before I leave on bail, so that I can go to my lawyer and say, "This is what I am being charged with, what am I to do about it?" I cannot conceive of any ground on which he should not be given a copy of the warrant, whether he asks for it or not. That would be very simple to do, and it is essential to do it.
I confess that I am somewhat less persuaded by Amendment No. 39. It seems to be asking a bit much of the unfortunate constable that he is asked to give an explanation of the offence of Holocaust denial, for example. That may not be intimately within the purview of his knowledge. If one has been given a copy of the document, at least in this country one should be able to go off and get advice about what it really means. However, I see no possible grounds, although the Minister may try to find some, for not accepting Amendments Nos. 33 and 34assuming that Amendment No. 34 is amending line 31, not line 30.
Viscount Bledisloe: I am still a bit pushed to see how Constable Plod can get hold of a person who can give the man a lecture on Holocaust denial. It may be that his chief inspector could arrange that, but I do not believe that Constable Plod could do so.
Lord Filkin: The effect of Amendments Nos. 33, 34, 36, 154, 157, 158 and 171 is straightforward enough. They require the police to show the warrant or a copy of the warrant to a person arrested under a Part 1 warrant, if it was not shown at the time of arrest. Some of the amendments provide that that must be within five hours of arrest.
Clause 4, as it is currently drafted, requires the person to be shown the warrant or a copy of it, if he or she so requests, as soon as practicable after arrest. I would ask Members of the Committee to bear in mind that that applies only where the warrant has not already been shown at the time of arrest. In the vast majority of cases, the arresting officer will be in possession of the warrant at the time of arrest and will show it to the person at the point of arrest. However, that might not always be possible, hence the second part of the clause which gives the person the right to request to see the warrant, or be released, if the request is not met.
The amendments place the onus of responsibility on the police to show the person the warrant, rather than the person having to ask for it. We have resisted that formulation as it represents a departure from UK domestic practice. In domestic arrest cases there is no
Members of the Committee will have spotted that the requirement is for the warrant to be shown rather than given to the arrested person, which is the point on which Amendments Nos. 34 and 153 turn. The central issue is that we do not want extradition practice to be out of line with domestic provisions, not least because any inadvertent failure to show the person the warrant would lead to the person's discharge. In the vast majority of cases the person is shown the warrant at the earliest opportunity; the police code of practice required under Part 4 of the Bill will require that as best practice.
Lord Lamont of Lerwick: It may be my ignorance, but I understand from reading the newspapers that it has sometimes been the case that when a warrant has been faultily drafted, that has resulted in charges being dropped against someone. Surely, one cannot load the system so much in favour of custody that the arrested person is to be deprived of a document which, if he handed it to his lawyer and his lawyer found that it was defective, might result in his release. Is that not loading the system too much one way?
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