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Lord Filkin: I thank the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, for tabling this probing amendment; I understand the need for it and its purpose. I also thank all Members on the Opposition Front Bench for their co-operation on groupings today, which has allowed us to hold this debate together with that on clause stand part.
It is not uncommon for extradition requests to cover more than one offence. A person who has robbed one bank may well have robbed two. Although those are separate charges, the requesting state will want to put the person on trial for all of them at once. So the extradition request we receive may well cover more than one offence.
In the vast majority of cases, all the offences in the request will succeed or fail together. For example, if we judge that a person is unlikely to get a fair trial, that is likely to cover offences A, B and C, rather than just one of them. If we think that a person's state of health is a bar on his extradition, that will apply to all the offences rather than only to one.
However, it is possible to conceive of circumstances in which one offence on a request is extraditable and another is not. For example, one offence could be covered by the double jeopardy bar even if the other was not. It is precisely to cover this situationrare though it may bethat we need Clause 197 and the ability to apply the provisions of the Bill with "specified modifications" to make it workable.
Indeed, the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform was concerned about the use of the phrase "specified modifications" in Clause 210 and suggested that the Government should provide a fuller justification, which I am happy to do today. However, the Committee made no comment or criticism about Clause 197that applies to both its wording and the order-making power it contains.
Perhaps I should set out in broad terms how we envisage the system working in cases where a request covers more than one offence. In cases where all the offences either succeed or fail, the Bill can apply without any modification, except possibly very minor linguistic ones.
We are concerned with where one or more offences are thrown out at some point in the process while others survive. A number of principles then apply. The first is that the person should not be extradited until all the legal proceedings in respect of all the offences have been completed. What is the effect of that? Imagine a person's extradition has been sought in respect of two offences. The judge orders extradition in respect of
There are two reasons for that. First, we think it important that at the time when a person is actually handed over, it is clear to all concerned the totality of the offences for which the extradition is taking place. That of course is made particularly important because of the existence of the rule of speciality. As the Committee knows by now, that rule is a long-standing feature of extradition and provides that a person cannot be tried for an offence other than the one for which he was extradited. That being so, we need something in the Bill that enables us to deal with an incoming extradition request which is concerned with more than one offence. That is the purpose of the clause.
The second reason for not extraditing the person, even though it was cleared to do so on the first offence, is that it is desirable for the person to be present at the hearing in respect of offence B. So the second principle is to preserve the notion, which the Bill enshrines, that there should be a single appeal hearing rather than the many that we have under the present system.
Again, let me set out what that means in practice. Imagine that a request covers four offences, just to make life really complicated. The judge may decide that extradition is barred for offence A because of double jeopardy; he may decide that extradition is barred for offence B because of the passage of time since the offence occurred; however, he may order extradition in respect of offences C and D.
In that situation, the requesting state may want to appeal against the judge's decision in respect of offences A and B while the fugitive may want to appeal against the decision to order extradition in respect of offences C and D. We therefore envisage a single appeal hearing before the High Court where each side can argue about the particular decisions that went against it.
In Part 2 cases where the matter has had to be considered by the Secretary of State, this single appeal will be held after the Secretary of State's consideration so that the decisions that he has taken can also, if necessary, be subject to appeal.
That is broadly how we envisage the system operating. As I hope is appreciated, so far as is possible we have sought to preserve the essential features of the extradition system as provided for in the Bill. Equally, however, we need some modifications to cover the situation where a request contains offences which meet a different fate. Although that explanation has been extremely long, I hope that is has been helpful.
Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: I am grateful to the Minister for that long reply. We shall read carefully what he said but I think that he has answered our concern about the latitude that could be implied by the use of the phrase "specified modifications". Bearing in mind the reassurances that he has given, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Lord said: On the next amendment, we shall have to engage in an important debate about the scope of Clause 198. I shall not seek to pre-empt that discussion. Let me say that we all recognise that there needs to be protection when issues of national security are at stake whatever view we may take about how much wider we should go, if at all. We need to be able to protect those who are employed by the security and intelligence agencies as they undertake their work to protect national security.
However, we also need to recognise that, on occasion, the people involved will not be direct employees of the agency but people working on its behalf. Such people also need to be protected when carrying out lawful acts operating on behalf of the security services. That is the purpose and effect of the amendment. I therefore hope that the Committee will agree to it. I beg to move.
The noble Lord said: As the Minister said, Amendments Nos. 252, 253 and 254, which are grouped, relate to the use of the term "national security" in Clause 198. That was extensively debated in Committee in another place. We should like to raise it again this afternoon but in a slightly different form
Amendment No. 252 seeks to insert after the words "national security" almost exactly the same words that appear in Section 1(2) of the Security Service Act 1989 after the words "including, in particular". We seek clarification from the Government of what they understand by the term "national security". I anticipate that the Minister will respond to that question by saying that "national security" means "national security", but as the 1989 Act includes similar words to amplify the meaning of the words "national security", I should be grateful for reassurance from the Government that they believe that all the issues raised by the wording of Amendment No. 252 are already covered by the broad term, "national security", namely:
Amendments Nos. 253 and 254 seek to insert two criteria additional to national security to trigger the operation of Clause 198: namely, the economic well-being of the United Kingdom and the prevention and detection of serious crime. These amendments replicate Section 1(2)(b) and (c) of the Intelligence Services Act 1994, which set out the grounds on which the intelligence services may operate. We have tabled them simply because in that Act the intelligence services are given three alternative grounds on which they may operate: namely, national security in Section 1(2)(a) and the grounds in Amendments Nos. 253 and 254.
The question for the Government is, therefore, if the term "national security" is the sole ground for the exercise of the Secretary of State's powers under Clause 198, are the other two criteria excluded? As I said, they are given as alternatives in the 1994 Act. I therefore take it that they fall outside the term "national security", at least as far as that Act is concerned, or they would not need to be separately specified. If I am right in that assertion and the position is as I have described, have the Government intentionally excluded them from Clause 198 even though they are closely related to the concept of national security, given the wording of the Intelligence Services Act 1994?
I should especially welcome the Minister's comments on why the Government have not chosen to include the words specified in Amendment No. 254: namely, "the prevention or detection of serious crime". The Minister has reminded us about that several times. Indeed, during an earlier debate this afternoon, a 1999 fraud case involving Morocco was mentioned.
In relation to the economic well-being of the United Kingdom, will the Government make clear whether they think that that is already covered by the term "national security"? I note that the wording of Section 1(2) of the 1989 Act that I cited appears to imply that national security includes economic well-being, whereas the 1994 Act gives economic well-being as an alternative to the concept of national security. Plainly the two are closely related, but the Committee would welcome clarification of the Government's position.
I have no doubt that the Government have already considered those points and that the Minister will have the answers to hand and be able to reassure the Committee about these important issues. I look forward to hearing his response. I beg to move.
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