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Viscount Bledisloe: My Lords, I support at least the spirit behind these amendments, though which of them I know not. I suspect, in fact I know, that the Minister also supports the spirit behind them because she has consistently stated that it is clearly the Bill's intent that one shall be extradited under Part 1 only to face trial and not to be interrogated. However, while the noble

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Baroness said earlier that all the countries within the family of the EU share common values, their criminal procedures are undoubtedly different. They may be no worse, but they are different. Undoubtedly there are many countries where one is arrested expressly for the purpose of being examined so that someone can thereafter decide whether or not to try one.

As the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, says, everyone knows that British citizens are languishing in EU prisons and being interrogated. They have not got there by being extradited because, at the moment, before you can be extradited the country has to prove sufficient facts to put you on trial. Therefore, to have challenged the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, to come up with examples where someone has been extradited and then held for questioning was asking the wrong question. A fact that no one would dispute is that in many countries people are held without bail—if they are foreign, they are particularly likely to be held without bail—for the purposes of being extradited. If there is any loophole in the Bill that might allow extradition to be used for that purpose then that loophole must be blocked.

It is important to remember that when one is interpreting the words "is accused of" and the warrant is issued with a view to his arrest, it is not a matter which will be decided de novo by the English court. The Bill requires a statement in the warrant by the foreign court that that is what they are doing. The English court is basically bound by that statement in the warrant. A foreign court, with its procedure, could perfectly legitimately say, "A man is accused"—as the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, has pointed out—"of the commission of an offence, and I am issuing a warrant with a view to his arrest and extradition for the purpose of his being prosecuted". They might, in the light of their procedure, find it perfectly legitimate to make such a statement, although an English court in the same situation would not have been able to make that statement because the words meant something different. That is why the words in this part of the Bill have to be superabundantly clear, that you can issue this warrant with this statement in it only if you say, "I've got my tackle in order. I've got the evidence to prosecute him. That is why he is coming here—to be prosecuted".

I urge the Minister, at the very least, to say that she will take the matter away and devise a form of wording that is not capable of being innocently misinterpreted by a foreign court to achieve a result that no one, particularly the noble Baroness herself, wants to achieve.

Lord Donaldson of Lymington: My Lords, I concur in everything that the noble Viscount said. He said it with a great deal more up-to-date knowledge than I have. However, I would add this. It may be that those who are not lawyers will not appreciate quite how different the continental system is from the British system. I particularly have that in mind as there was one occasion when I was a judge in the Queen's Bench Division when

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someone applied to me for a writ of habeas corpus which was directed to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, either to charge the arrested person or to release him. As the Commissioner did not deign to take any notice of my presence, I gave instructions at the lunch adjournment that the writ was to issue unless by two o'clock he had appeared and explained which he proposed to do. Come two o'clock there was not a sign. So I said, "Right; the writ will issue". Two minutes later, a perspiring sergeant arrived and said, "We have charged him".

That is the difference. I forget the exact time period involved, but four or five days was probably the limit within which the accused had to be released or charged. When one compares that with the experience of the sort of case described by the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, it really is staggering that the Minister can say that we all belong to the same judicial club.

Lord Carlisle of Bucklow: My Lords, the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, said that he suspected that there was very little difference in spirit between the views of the Government and those of my noble friend Lord Lamont on this matter. I would suggest that probably everyone in the House at the moment agrees totally on what is desired.

Before the Minister responds, I refer her to what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, in Grand Committee. He said:

    "It is clear that a Part 1 warrant under Clause 2(3)(b) can be valid only if it is for the purpose of a prosecution. A request from a member state to this country for extradition for the purpose of investigation or interrogation would not be lawful".—[Official Report, 9/6/03; col. GC 23.]

Therefore, it seems to me that the only outstanding issue is whether the wording in the Bill which refers to "accused" is adequate, or whether, for the reasons given by the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Donaldson, the matter should be looked at again to produce words which clearly carry out the intention of both sides.

6.30 p.m.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick: My Lords, before my noble friend sits down, I should make it clear—if I have not done so—that the warrant in the case to which I referred contained the word "accused". That was an extradition case from Switzerland to Germany.

Lord Carlisle of Bucklow: My Lords, that confirms what I said. Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, did not appear to be totally clear that the wording in the Bill met the aim. I say with respect to the Minister that the matter should be looked at again to ensure that the Bill's wording is adequate to achieve the end that everyone desires.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, when the noble Baroness replies, will she answer one simple

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question? Is there anything to guarantee that member states of the European Union will not in the future change their law for the worse in this respect?

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, we have had much discussion on this matter and on this particular clause. There is no doubt of the wording of Clause 2(3). I shall read it out so that I understand it. It states:

    "the person in respect of whom the Part 1 warrant is issued is accused in the category 1 territory of the commission of an offence specified in the warrant".

That is what the Bill states. However, Article 1 of the framework decision, under the heading, "Definition of the European arrest warrant and obligation to execute it", states:

    "The European arrest warrant is a judicial decision issued by a Member State with a view to the arrest and surrender by another Member State of a requested person, for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order".

There is nothing there about people being accused of offences. The wording is quite clear. It states:

    "for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution".

That means that the matter is presumably settled. It is not a question of extraditing a person who has been accused of something, but rather someone who is already guilty of something and is going to be tried. If I am wrong, it seems to me that either I have not read the Bill correctly or I have not read the framework document correctly because the two things do not seem to tie up. The Minister should insert the words of the framework document, which do not mention accusation. Then we could all get on to the next amendment and we would all be happy and our people would be safe from being accused and whipped over to a continental country and questioned by a magistrate for months on end. Why does she not do that?

Lord Lucas: My Lords, I have so often said that the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, talks rubbish. However, on this occasion I think that he is entirely right.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, is very warmed by that generous support.

I make it absolutely clear that the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, is right to say that the Government acknowledge the spirit of this amendment. Where we differ is that we say that the current drafting is clear. We looked very carefully at the difficulties that were raised in Committee to ensure that we reflected that which all noble Lords on all sides of the House wished to see secured. Therefore, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, and to the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, for having tabled these amendments. I hope that I can put beyond doubt the Government's view of these provisions.

I reassure my noble friend Lord Stoddart that the clarity with which he accurately assessed the framework document is reflected in the Bill that we now have. He is right to point out that surrender for

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the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution was what everyone agreed to in that document, and nothing else.

I am not persuaded by the merits of these amendments. We believe that they are unnecessary. As the noble Lord, Lord Carlisle of Bucklow, said, the issue was quite properly debated at length in Grand Committee. My noble friend Lord Filkin put on record the assurance sought by the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, on that occasion. That assurance was correctly recited today by the noble Lord, Lord Carlisle of Bucklow.

I repeat that this Bill, as it is currently drafted, allows extradition for the purposes of prosecution only in accusation cases. The Bill does not allow extradition for the purposes of questioning, investigation or, of course, interrogation. My noble friend Lord Filkin agreed to reflect on further issues raised by Members of the Grand Committee. As I said earlier, we have done that. I think that we are clear on all sides about the objective.

Although this is Report, it is worth looking at what the current extradition legislation says. Section 1 of the Extradition Act 1989 provides for extradition procedures where a person "is accused" of the commission of an offence. It goes no further than that on the subject and the phrase "is accused" is not qualified in any way. Your Lordships will know that that is the law that we have had for the past 14 years since 1989 and that it has not been an issue between ourselves and our partners. In contrast, the Bill is very explicit. It goes on to say that a warrant must have been issued,

    "for the purpose of being prosecuted for the offence".

Those additional words strengthen and underline the purpose of the warrant. As I say, this is more than we have at the moment and we are pleased to have had the opportunity to make that point very clear.

I suggest that concerns of the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, about fishing trips are simply unfounded. We are not aware of any such problems under the current system, where the test is far less clear, and we certainly do not anticipate them in future. I listened with great care to the example concerning Germany and Switzerland that the noble Lord gave. However, that certainly does not relate to any extradition, or experience of extradition, that we have had with our partners.

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