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Viscount Bledisloe: With respect, that is precisely what this warrant is. Clause 2(2)(a) states that the warrant,
Lord Filkin: I thank the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, for that.
I was going to conclude by saying that I am no longer going to try to make water flow uphill this afternoon on this issue. I will go away and look at the arguments. I will question whether the argument in terms of reduction of risk by having a standard procedure outweighs the arguments put to me by Members of the Committee from a number of quarters. I do so with my usual caution: that is not to imply that we are signalling that we will change but it does signal that we will give further serious consideration to the matter, and in the awareness of what noble Lords will seek to encourage us to do on Report. I conclude with that commitment.
Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: We have had a most interesting debate, and I am grateful to the Minister for those concluding comments. I am also grateful to noble Lords who contributed.
I do not wish to re-till the ground except to make two points. First, I am not a lawyer and have never been arrested, so I speak without any experience. I find it staggering, in relation to the Minister's comments on our trying to follow domestic legislation, that I can leave a police station on bail without a copy of the charge. Can I leave a police station without a piece of paper telling me what I have been charged with? Perhaps I can; I do not know.
Secondlythis may also be the point of the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloewe have become confused in the legislation between the warrant and the charge or indictment. The Council framework decision, which has the warrant at the back of it, is what I regard as a charge sheet and indictment as well. That may be the source of some of our difficulties. Instead of having a one-liner, as it were, we have a warrant that is combined, as the noble Viscount said, with a charge or indictment. Somehow, we must separate those so that the person knows what he has been charged with in advance of getting to Clause 8(1)(b)the domestic judgeto which the Minister rightly referred. I am afraid, however, that his fox was subsequently shot by a Member of the Committee. I take the point of my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew and the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, that this is a different system. Neatness cannot carry the day, particularly when one is dealing with non-UK nationals who may not be familiar with the language or the practices and will be in a very different situation.
We look forward to hearing the Minister's reflections and considerations. I am particularly interested to hear whether I can leave a police station without any piece of paper giving information about what I have been charged with. I believe that the Minister's team said that that was the case. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts moved Amendment No. 35:
The noble Lord said: We are still on the vexed issue of Clause 4(2). The amendment relates to language. It brings us back in part, but not centrally, to Amendments Nos. 13 and 155, which we discussed at a previous sitting. This amendment is grouped with other amendments that run through the Bill. Amendment No. 35 deals with Part 1, Amendment No. 156 deals with Part 2 and relates to arrest, Amendment No. 171 deals with the provisions of arrest under Part 2, Amendment No. 209 deals with competing extraditions and Amendment No. 213 deals with information that has to be provided to the Secretary of State if he decides to order an extradition in Clause 99.
Lord Goodhart: By the Secretary of State.
Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: I beg the Committee's pardon. Amendment No. 213 deals with information that has to be provided by the Secretary of State. The noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, has tabled some amendments that head down the same kind of track, and indeed follow on from some of what he discussed on the previous group.
The group of amendments addresses an issue that is quite straightforward. Any person faced with an arrest warrantshould I now say charge sheet?must have it translated into a language that he or she understands. We debated earlier the merits of ordinary language. The point here, although of the same ilk, is even more fundamental. Extradition invariably involves language and communication barriers. I shall refer in a moment to the case of Teresa Daniels, which is currently in the papers; Members of the Committee will have heard of it in relation to the communication barrier. Every person must be able to understand the crime for which they are being charged and the subsequent proceedings at the extradition hearing and eventual court case that results in them going back to the issuing country.
The right is already enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 5.2 reads:
It is stated in note 1 of the annex to the framework decision that the,
There has been a briefing from Fair Trials Abroad that I am sure many Members of the Committee will have seen, which highlights the divergence of standards in legal translation and interpretation in a significant number of countries throughout Europe and the resulting miscarriages of justice. A foreigner is invariably at a disadvantage if he is arrested, charged and prosecuted in a country other than his own. Communication problems due to language barriers in many cases cause considerable discrimination.
It is worth stating very briefly the case of Teresa Daniels, mentioned by Fair Trials Abroad, which is a long-running saga and the sort of case that we have to make sure cannot happen in future. She was arrested in June 1997 at the airport in Gran Canaria, travelling with a companion who had drugs. He said from the beginning that she knew nothing about the drugs. Nine months later, having been asked at trial a total of five questionsshe had no interpreter present and could not understand the proceedingsshe was sentenced to 10 years but was allowed to go free. Eighteen months after that, two-and-a-half years after the first case, there was an appeal against her sentence, which was dismissed. She returned to the United Kingdom and remained here until three weeks ago, when, on 2nd Junesix years after the original caseshe was arrested by United Kingdom police officers and has to appear at Bow Street Magistrates' Court very shortly.
That has now taken six years. She is not clear what she has done. She did not understand what she was charged with in the first place. She was not able to speak the language. We need to ensure that that sort of case cannot happen under the extradition proceedings and the revision thereof, which we are considering now. I beg to move.
Lord Goodhart: I offer somewhat equivocal support. I support some of the amendments in this group but not all. I can see grounds for why the warrant should not be required to be translated out of Englishwe were originally told that the warrant will be in English as the appropriate official language. There are certain problems that could arise. First, one may not know what languages a particular person understands. They are not necessarily the language of the country which seeks the extradition. There is also the problem that it is even more important that the warrant should be comprehensible to the detainee's legal adviser than that it should be comprehensible to the person concerned. That means that I cannot support Amendments Nos. 35, 156 and 171.
However, I very much support Amendments Nos. 209 and 213, which apply in entirely different situations. In the case of Amendment No. 209 the
In the case of a Secretary of State, where clearly the information will be provided in writing, again it should be in writing in a language which the recipient of the information will understand. Therefore, I support the last two amendments.
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