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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
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 bailif they are foreign, they are particularly likely to be held without bailfor 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 hereto 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
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.
Lord Lamont of Lerwick: My Lords, before my noble friend sits down, I should make it clearif I have not done sothat 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.
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:
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
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,
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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