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Lord Pearson of Rannoch: I am most grateful to my noble friend and to the Minister, if only for her words in confirmation that the EU will never be designated as an extradition partner of the United Kingdom. I really hope that not too far in the future the time does not arrive when we need to rely on those words.
I assure the Minister that of course I would never have described her as a patsy to be knocked down by the Prime Minister in negotiations in Brussels. I am sure that no one in your Lordships' House would make such a suggestion.
To me, a patsy in this sense is merely a scare. That is the system that has been going since, in my experience, the Single European Act, Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice. Those were bugbears set up by the Foreign Office of frightening prospects from forthcoming treaty negotiations, when the Prime Minister of the day was able to say that he had negotiated them away and that therefore the whole process had been to the advantage of the United Kingdom. "Game, set and match" comes to mind in that respect. But of course the European juggernaut has meanwhile ground quietly on in the background.
I shall not engage with the Minister now about whether what we are considering is a vision or a nightmare. I agree that that will come out in the wash of our discussions over the results of the intergovernmental conference. I am most grateful to the Minister and to my noble friend for their contributions and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendment No. 221 would bring back into Part 2 of the Bill a defence to extradition that is present in the Extradition Act 1989 and all earlier Extradition Acts. The issue was raised by Liberty. The defence to be brought back is that the extradition is unjust and oppressive. Amendments Nos. 221 and 222 are based on Section 11(3)(c) of the Extradition Act 1989, which provides for the extradition to be refused if the accusation that is the subject of the charge leading to the application for extradition was not made in good faith in the interests of justice, and if the extradition would cause injustice or oppression.
We are dealing with Part 2 of the Bill. Part 1 is based on the assumption that we can trust the legal systems of category 1 states. There is no such assumption in relation to category 2 states. In fact, in two recent cases involving states not included in category 1 the court refused extradition on the grounds that the accusation was not in good faith. One of those cases is from India and the other from Turkey. In one of the cases, there was a lot of evidence to suggest that the person whose extradition was sought had been framed by the people who committed the offence. In the other case, there was strong evidence that the person was being blackmailed over an offence that he had not committed.
If one could be certain that there would be a fair trial if the person were extradited, one could then also assume that the court would consider the evidence, that a fair trial would take place, and that, if things were as they appeared to be when extradition was sought, the person being extradited would be acquitted. However, that cannot necessarily be the case in relation to some category 2 countries, at any
There are significant advantages in allowing that defence to be raised. Without the amendment, the judge could not refuse extradition and the case would have to be decided by the Home Secretary. If the judge is satisfied, after hearing the evidence, that the accusation was not made in good faith, he or she should be allowed to refuse extradition.
In the other place, the Government said that the judge could reach such a conclusion on human rights grounds, relying on Clause 88. However, I am not satisfied that that is true. The European Convention on Human Rights would apply only if the court hearing the extradition application believed that the person whose extradition was sought would not get a fair trial. That is a different question. If the court believes that the accusation was not made in good faith, even if it believes that that person will get a fair trial, it should be able to discharge him or her without having to send that person back by making an extradition order subject to the final decision of the Home Secretary. We believe that significant advantages can be gained from keeping such a defence in Part 2 of the Bill, as it has stood for many years in existing extradition legislation. I beg to move.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I rise to support this amendment, to which I attached my name. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, that it provides a significant defence. It is an important matter and it has served well in the past. During the course of the explanation by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, it would become apparent to the casual reader that we have slipped almost imperceptibly at long last into Part 2, because this is the first group of amendments in Part 2 to which noble Lords have spoken. The noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, rightly made it clear that we are now dealing with extradition to countries that will not form part of the European arrest warrant framework decision or of that agreement, and we must exercise even more caution in determining whether or not a person should appropriately be extradited.
Like the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, we have received a lot of briefing on this matter. I particularly wish to thank Liberty and Mr Clive Nicholls QC who is, of course, an expert practitioner in this field. Those who practise in this field have told us repeatedly over the past few months that the provision of a bar to extradition if the accusation is not made in good faith in the interests of justice has been an invaluable protection in several cases that would indeed be Part 2 cases in the future if the like arose again. In Committee, the Minister tried to argue that the
We are advised that there is nothing historic in the sense of the past about the need for this safeguard. It is just as relevant now as it has ever been. History has a purpose to serve when it shows a good example. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Goodhartor "learned" in the normal sense of the word, but not yet learned within our ruleshas made an invincible case.
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