I am writing as Chairman of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee which, at its meeting yesterday, considered this instrument but declined to clear it as there were outstanding questions to which your officials were unable to respond in time for the meeting. The Committee’s concerns particularly relate to the temporary transfer of prisoners to another Member State under a European Investigation Order (EIO).
Under article 54(5)(c) to transfer a prisoner the Secretary of State must be satisfied that the required information cannot be obtained by videolink, phone etc. We presume a visit by an officer of the relevant police force to the UK to take a statement from the individual, would also be considered but we cannot see it mentioned explicitly. Is this the case?
We would also be grateful if you could give an example of the type of scenario where this transfer provision might be needed.
The Committee noted the restriction in article 56 to prevent the UK from prosecuting or detaining a transferred EU person in relation to any other matter, they can only be questioned in relation to a matter specified in the EIO. We could not find an equivalent limitation for a UK prisoner being transferred to somewhere in the EU and would be grateful if you could point to that provision.
The Committee’s greatest concern was about how the term “temporary” is defined in these circumstances. In contrast to section H3 of the form, which allows for the transfer of an item of evidence to be time limited, we could see no section on the form that allows for a set period to be specified for the return of a prisoner. The Committee is concerned that if a prisoner is transferred there is no apparent guarantee that we will get him back. What is to prevent the receiving country detaining him indefinitely?
The Committee also asked, if a UK prisoner is transferred to country A under an EIO could that State then send him to country B in response to another EIO? Or is there a specific requirement in the Regulation that the prisoner must first be “returned to sender” and country B may only send an EIO to the first country (in this case the UK)?
We would be grateful to receive your clarification on these points by Friday 4 August.
19 July 2017