Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

I understand my noble friend's anxiety about this and her determination for our country not to be misused and, I would say, abused in this way. I absolutely understand the desire of the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, to ensure that that commitment is not only maintained but holds true. It is a proper matter for us to debate and I am more than happy to give the assurance that this Government's position has not changed in relation to it.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: I am most grateful to the noble and learned Baroness for her reply. I had hoped to spend much of this afternoon debating the probable cause in the fourth amendment of the United States constitution and Section 8 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and how the two vary and differ. Unfortunately, we have been spared that debate and I hear her criticism that this amendment does not set out a standard by which a magistrate or a judge could

20 Oct 2009 : Column 612

issue a warrant for the searching of an aircraft in the circumstances that we have discussed. I accept that criticism and I shall look at the amendment. I do not know whether I shall bring it back again but I am grateful to the noble and learned Baroness for her response. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 152AKF withdrawn.

Clause 75 : Provisional arrest

Debate on whether Clause 75 should stand part of the Bill.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: We have given notice that we oppose the question that Clause 75 stand part of the Bill. In so doing, we are supported by Liberty. Currently, a person may be arrested under the Extradition Act 2003 if a constable, a Customs officer or a service policeman has reasonable grounds to believe that an arrest warrant for that person's extradition has been or will be issued. Once a person has been arrested under this power, he or she must be brought before a judge within 48 hours and documents setting out the legality of the arrest must be provided to the judge; that is to say the extradition request and the documents which have to accompany it.

Clause 75 permits the requesting state to apply to a judge to extend the period of 48 hours within which it must produce the documents. Our view is that, if a request is made for the extradition of someone from this country, everything should be in order before the person concerned is arrested. According to Clause 75, a judge can grant the extension if he or she decides that the documents could not reasonably be produced within the initial 48 hours. In calculating the period of 48 hours, no account is to be taken of weekends or public holidays. The requesting country now has 48 hours, plus 48 hours, plus a weekend or a public holiday. That means that someone could be arrested and held for a very long period without knowing why.

The government amendment would allow for a person to be detained without charge for upwards of six days. It is a clear interference with the right to liberty and it must be demonstrated to be necessary and proportionate. The Government have not given us a reason why it is necessary to give a requesting country more time to produce the documents. It may just be a matter of administrative convenience but some of us will know that a High Court judge is available at any time of day or night in extremis. There is no need for people to be held in custody just for the purposes of administrative convenience. That is why we oppose Clause 75 and I look forward to hearing the reply of the noble and learned Baroness.

Baroness Neville-Jones: We share the view that it should not be necessary to extend the period in this way. There is an obligation on the requesting country to meet the requirements of the extradition procedure as soon as possible. It seems to be a case of administrative convenience rather than fairness to the individual concerned.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I understand the way in which the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, and the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Jones, put their points but there are a number of practical issues which

20 Oct 2009 : Column 613

we need to bear in mind. The first, as the noble Lord will know, is that the designated judge for extradition cases is a district judge and not a High Court judge. The reason, as the noble Lord will be aware, is that for a long time in central London the principal district judge has developed a real expertise in this area and there are a number of other designated specialist district judges who cover this. This jurisdiction is not a jurisdiction which is exercised by a High Court judge. I am very familiar with the 24-hour duty judge system which is available in the High Court but we are dealing with the position which pertains in the district court, which has the role of discharging this function.

The European arrest warrant system provides a very effective and efficient means by which extradition can be conducted between member states of the European Union. As my honourable friend Vernon Coaker made clear in the other place when this matter was debated, such urgent and complex cases requiring member states to ask one another to arrest someone before a full European arrest warrant has been issued are rare. Where the United Kingdom receives such a request and there are reasonable grounds for believing that the full European arrest warrant has been or will be issued, it is open to UK law enforcement officials to arrest the person in question. Sometimes there is information that the person is coming through our country, is at an airport or somewhere where it is possible to arrest them and time may be of the essence.

Where someone is arrested somewhat unusually under the provisional arrest powers found in Section 5 of the Extradition Act 2003, Section 6 requires that the person be brought before a court and the full European arrest warrant provided to the judge within 48 hours of arrest.

6 pm

In most cases, that mechanism will work effectively and without difficulty. However, there are very rare occasions when that rigid time limit causes operational difficulties. The first such instance is where the 48-hour period falls over a weekend or public holiday. Where that is the case there will often not be a court sitting to deal with the person provisionally arrested within 48 hours, which under the terms of the Act would enable a potentially serious criminal to apply to be discharged.

The second situation is where the seriousness and complexity of the case means that the authorities in the other member state are simply unable to provide the relevant information within the 48-hour period. In such cases, it should be possible to apply to a judge for a further 48 hours within which to produce a full European arrest warrant and to bring the person in question before the court. Such an application would be made on notice to the person affected and an extension would be granted only where the judge was satisfied that the conditions in Section 6 could not reasonably have been complied with within 48 hours. There would also be an opportunity for the person arrested to apply for bail.

It is also important to consider the context of the time limits in the legislation of our EU partners. For instance, Italian domestic law provides for a person to be held for up to 10 days subject to a provisional arrest

20 Oct 2009 : Column 614

request. In France a person may be detained for six days before the full European arrest warrant must be produced. Both those countries have of course incorporated the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights into their domestic law.

In conclusion, this provision will not only contribute to greater public safety on British streets, but ensure that we co-operate effectively with our EU colleagues in tackling serious and organised crime. The European arrest warrant is working well in the United Kingdom, but this clause will ensure that it is even more effective in bringing serious criminals to justice. I beg leave that this clause stands part of the Bill.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, I am familiar with the fact that the jurisdiction of the chief magistrate in Bow Street, like Bow Street magistrates' court, has gone, and that the jurisdiction has been spread among the district judges and one particular district judge who heads the team. However, the fact that the court is not sitting is not a good reason for someone to sit in prison without any knowledge of why they are there-without the documents having been served on them. I am sure that the district judges could have a system akin to the High Court system whereby a district judge is available on duty all the time. I am surprised to hear that that is not the case. The fact that the court does not sit at weekends is not a good enough reason. I will consider what the noble and learned Baroness has said and I thank her for her reply.

Clause 75 agreed.

Clause 76 : Use of live link in extradition proceedings.

Amendment 152AKG

Moved by Lord Thomas of Gresford

152AKG: Clause 76, page 92, leave out lines 37 and 38 and insert-

"(i) an initial hearing;

(ii) an extradition hearing within the meaning of that Part;

(iii) an appeal under section 26 or 32;

(iv) a hearing under section 54 or 56,"

Lord Thomas of Gresford: This deals with live links in criminal proceedings. Live links can be very useful, but they have their limitations. The main limitation is quite practical: there are not enough live-link studios in courts or prisons to enable there to be suitable conference facilities for lawyers representing an accused person. Although it may be efficient for a prisoner not to be brought to court, it causes considerable difficulties.

I have no objection to live links being used on the renewal of applications to hold a person in custody or matters of that sort, but for someone who has been subjected to a request for extradition and arrested under a European arrest warrant or by reasonable warrant from another country such as a part 2 country, it is important for there to be proper opportunities for their lawyers to consult them and for the court to have before it the body of the person who has been arrested.

20 Oct 2009 : Column 615

We suggest that at an initial hearing there should be no live links, and nor should there be at the actual extradition hearing or appeal-except with the consent of the person concerned.

Quite recently, I represented somebody from Belgium who was held in one of Her Majesty's prisons in London. He did not come to court for the whole of the proceedings-not even to plead or be sentenced-because he was suffering from sciatica. Those who have suffered from sciatica will know that you would not wish to be carried in a prison van across London under any circumstances. Accordingly, he consented to the use of a live link. The difficulties that I have expressed to your Lordships were then apparent to me but, nevertheless, because the client consented, that was sufficient. But what is proposed here is that the initial hearing and the extradition hearing could be held without the consent of the person concerned. That is going too far.

One of the purposes of a judicial hearing should be to monitor the manner in which the detained person is being held to see if there are any complaints. Another difficulty arises with translation. If the person who has been arrested cannot speak English, it is extremely difficult to communicate over a live link with an interpreter present. It is quite different when the interpreter is present with the particular person in court. Any difficulties can then be ironed out, but with a live link it is very difficult indeed. In fairness to those who are simply unconvicted and arrested under these provisions-they are not to be regarded as criminals-I suggest that live links without their consent is a step too far. I beg to move.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, in order to understand the context of the noble Lord's amendment, we should look at how this matter is dealt with in practice. The first point to make about Clause 76 is that there is currently only one court in England and Wales that hears European arrest warrant and extradition cases. If a person is arrested in Durham, for example, that person is currently required to travel to London for both the initial hearing and any subsequent remand hearings that there may be.

In the vast majority of cases, the initial hearing is very short and looks only at whether the person is in fact the person sought by the request, and whether the offence for which the person is sought is an extradition offence. Those are the two matters addressed at the initial hearing. It is also important to note that Clause 76 will not apply to the substantive hearing, where the subject of the request will be able to make detailed representations in relation to the extradition request in person.

The second point to make is that a live-link direction will be made only where the judge decides that it is in the interests of justice, and that there is a specific power in the Bill pursuant to which a judge may rescind a live-link direction before or during a hearing. Although I understand the noble Lord's concern that there could, in a given case, be a problem with interpretation via a live link, in the unlikely event that that occurs, the judge would have the power to rescind the live-link direction where it would not be in the

20 Oct 2009 : Column 616

interests of justice to continue. The hearing would then be adjourned to take place at a later date in person, and the person would be driven from wherever they happened to be in the country to London to be heard.

It is important to understand that the noble Lord's amendments would have two principal effects. First, they would further limit the kinds of hearings that can take place via a live link by excluding initial extradition hearings from the scope of the provisions. I hope that he will accept that live-link connections are advantageous and that good evidence is heard through that medium. Furthermore, the amendments would mean that live links could take place in any case where an interpreter is required. Therefore, the effect of his amendments would be to drastically limit the use of Clause 76.

We are satisfied that there are sufficient safeguards to ensure that the provision works fairly and in the interests of justice. Most importantly, the provision will remove the need for lengthy and unnecessary journeys frequently made to the City of Westminster magistrates' court in London and ensure that the public's money is not wasted in paying for those journeys, especially when the two issues that we want to understand are, first, whether the person arrested is the right person and, secondly, whether the offence for which the EAW was issued is an extraditable offence. Those are the only two matters decided in the initial hearing, and we think that the judiciary can be trusted to identify any injustice in the matter continuing by live link. If the judge is alerted to that being unfair, he or she can stop it and the matter can proceed on an adjourned basis.

The suggestion that Clause 76 would allow the main extradition hearing to be by live link is simply not correct. I invite noble Lords to read new Section 206A(1)(a)(i). Your Lordships will see that we anticipated that that might be a concern. We have restricted the provision narrowly to focus on the initial hearing because we absolutely accept that the initial hearing can properly be done by live link. The substantive hearing could be by live link, as the noble Lord said, if the individual consented and thought that it was more convenient, but Clause 76 does not apply to the substantive hearing. It only lets us get the case in order in a way that is cost-effective, as opposed to just cost-efficient. I know that noble Lords will think that Her Majesty's Treasury right now needs to be appropriately jealous about how it spends money, especially on travel.

6.15 pm

Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, I am not so much concerned about the Treasury's expenditure; I am much more concerned with the justice and liberty case. The noble and learned Baroness says that the initial hearing is often very short. It may be short in court, but there is frequently a period when advice has to be given, instructions have to be taken, and it is important that the person be there for those purposes. However, I am heartened by her emphasis that it is always for the judge to determine whether it is in the interests of justice, and to note something that I had obviously overlooked-that the hearing itself cannot take place by live link unless the defendant consents. Those are very important reassurances, which I hope

20 Oct 2009 : Column 617

will be carried up and down the breadth of the judiciary who may have to deal with these cases. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 152AKG withdrawn.

Amendments 152AKH and 152AKJ not moved.

Clause 76 agreed.

Clause 77 : Security planning for airports

Amendment 152AL

Moved by Baroness Neville-Jones

152AL: Clause 77, page 95, line 24, at end insert-

"( ) The Serious Organised Crime Agency may at any time nominate one individual to be a member of the group.

( ) The Secretary of State may at any time nominate as a member of the group an official of the Secretary of State who exercises functions relating to immigration.

( ) The Secretary of State may at any time nominate as a member of the group an official of the security services.

( ) The group must permit a representative of the police authority for the relevant police area to attend meetings of the group as an observer.

( ) The group must permit an individual who appears to the manager of the aerodrome to represent the interests of the operators of aircraft who take off from, or land, at the aerodrome to attend meetings of the group."

Baroness Neville-Jones: My Lords, Amendments 152AL, 152AM, 152AS and 152AT are probing. They relate to the membership of risk advisory groups and security executive groups. Amendments 152AL and 152AM probe why the membership of the risk advisory groups-that is, the bodies charged with determining the risk profiles at airports-is different from the membership of the security executive groups. In particular, the UK Border Agency and SOCA are not included. Does that suggest that illegal immigration and organised crime are not threats that affect or make use of airports and air transport? That seems on the face of it rather odd.

Amendment 152AM follows from those amendments. Does the Bill provide for the Secretary of State to appoint individuals from those organisations to attend meetings of the group? How will the group operate? Will it be flexible? The question remains: why are those organisations not members of the risk advisory group? Why is there a discrepancy between that group and the security executive group? Is that just an oversight, or is there a deliberate difference and, if so, why?

Amendments 152AN and 152AM concern what is called level 2/3 policing. In the other place, the Government rejected an amendment that would have required the chief officer of police in that airport area or a chief officer of police of another force with a lead for level 2/3 policing to be a member of those groups. That was on the following grounds: first, that the force in the area where the airport is located should have responsibility, because the chief constable of that force is ultimately responsible for the police services agreement and has to sign it off; secondly, that it would cut off links with the local community or hamper community intelligence; and, thirdly, that the Minister was sure that, where there were collaborative arrangements because of the location of airports, the chief constable of the local police force would in any event consult other forces, even if he was not in the lead. In effect, this is a

20 Oct 2009 : Column 618

compromise amendment to allow both for the local chief constable to be a member and the lead chief constable for any collaboration agreement to attend as an observer. It is important to try to bring those two together.

Finally, Amendments 152AL and 152AS would allow the Secretary of State to nominate as a member of those groups an official of the Security Service. That seems entirely appropriate. I am surprised that a similar nomination is not made in relation to the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure. The question is: should not the CPNI also be formally represented on those groups, given that airports are a part of the country's critical infrastructure?

The final amendment in the group, Amendment 152AU, is a probing amendment to determine why it is necessary for separate groups to exist if an individual may be a member of both groups. That seems a bit bureaucratic.

The amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, would allow an aerodrome manager to procure the services of another police force from another relevant police area or from alternative police providers approved by the Secretary of State. These proposals pose some difficulties of jurisdiction, but I agree with the amendment that requires that, in determining disputes about the cost of policing, the Secretary of State should have regard to whether an alternative police provider would make a different resource judgment based on identified risks. I beg to move.

Lord Bradshaw: I have tabled a number of amendments in this group on the policing of aerodromes. The representations that have been made to me are that the chief constable of an area is in a monopoly position in selling his services to the airport operator and, what is worse, the airport operator has no option but to accept the bill that the chief constable sends him. This is foreign to much of the way in which commerce is conducted. While policing services are not commerce in the ordinary way, they are services. I am talking not about allowing anybody who puts himself up as a security agent to provide airport security services but about using properly warranted police officers. In most of my amendments in this group and the next, I am arguing that the airport operator should have a choice. If he receives a policing plan that he regards as extravagant, he should have the option of going to another warranted police force or, at least, of appealing to the Secretary of State if he is being, in his view, put upon.

I cite a totally anonymous example of an airport where the chief constable is, shall we say, a little afraid of his shadow; he opts for providing an armed police service at the airport, which is left with no alternative, as the Bill stands, but to pay up. I can assure noble Lords that a number of airports are not in a position to pay for expensive services.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page