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Lord Goodhart: As the noble Baroness said, the amendment also appears in my name. The amendment's words are taken directly from the annex to the framework agreement, which sets out the form of the warrant. They involve what appears to be pretty ordinary languageat least as ordinary as the language in the Billand it would be better, simpler and clearer to use the words in the annex to the framework decision rather than the paraphrase of those words in subsection (4)(c). Moreover, subsection (4)(c) leaves out certain parts of the wording in the annex, particularly that relating to the legal basis. There is a clear case for adopting Amendment No. 18.
Lord Filkin: We have already spent some time on the warrant so I shall try not to repeat myself unnecessarily. The point that I must emphasise is that the Government have put some effort into drafting the Bill to ensure that its provisions are both clear and concise.
Amendment No. 18 seeks to put additional wording on the face of the Bill. As the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, said, I recognise those words. They are the words to be found in Article 8(1) of the framework decision. Including the provision would be a desirable thing to do were it not for the fact that the Bill already sets out exactly what a warrant should contain, based on the list in Article 8(1) of the framework decision. Moreoverthis is the key pointthe Bill does so in language which is more clear than that in the framework decision. What, for example, does "legal classification" mean? What does the,
I do not see any need to import wording from the framework decision just for the sake of it when we have a perfectly adequate provision in the Bill which does the job well. Let me seek to illustrate how it does so. We believe that we have included all of the safeguards that the framework decision allows us. Amendment No. 22 provides that the content of a warrant must conform to the model arrest warrant appended to the framework decision. However, if noble Lords examine what that model warrant contains, they will see that the requirements that are already in the Bill already cover it. For example, the first section of the model warrant asks for details of the person's identity. That information is already a requirement by virtue of Clause 2(4)(a).
The next thing that must be provided in the model warrant is details of the judicial decision on which it is based. That information is already a requirement by virtue of Clause 2(4)(b). The model warrant also contains details of the sentence that could be imposed. Clause 2(4)(d) means that that information must be provided.
Information is also sought in cases of conviction in absentia. However, that information already has to be supplied to comply with Clause 20 of the Bill. Then further details of the offence are required, including whether it falls into one of the 32 generic offence categories. That information already has to be supplied in order to comply with Clauses 10 and 63. I
I hope, for the reasons that I have set out, that it is clear that we have already fully complied in the Bill with what the framework decision says in this respect and have done so in a way that is clear and concise.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I shall reflect carefully on what the Minister said. I am particularly struck by the fact that the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, said that his preference was for the words in the warrant annex rather than the paraphrase in subsection (4)(c). That is exactly why I tabled Amendment No. 18. We must look carefully at the Minister's final comments that the Government have met the principles in the framework decision properly in the Bill and that that has given sufficient clarity. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Lord said: I make it clear, in view of a remark that the Minister made, that I am not in favour of helping people to avoid extradition when they have committed crimes. However, I am in favour of making sure that the Billwhich, after all, involves a totally new regime in Part 1provides adequate protections. I am especially mystifiedthis is the reason for the amendmentby Clause 2(7). The provisions as to who can issue a valid European arrest warrant have been the subject of some controversy and some change in the Bill. We began with the notion that any authority that is competent to issue it was enough. The Government have had to make changes in the Bill and they are making further changes today. This is not a debate on the spur of the moment; it is one with some history. The Home Affairs Select Committee in another place stated on 28th November 2002:
I imagine that the Government would agree that, subject to the odd word, there is nothing in those statements about "believing" that the issuing body is this or that. One could believe what one likes; but it must be a judicial authority. Yet Clause 2(7) states that the designated authorityour courtmay issue a certificate,
Some people may say, "That does not matter. After all, no one would be silly and believe things that are not true". Life is not like that. A forged document may be produced to the court. A document may be produced that induces a mistake. The court might believe that the issuing body had fulfilled all the tests that one could possibly include in the Bill, but its belief should not by itself be the basis for a person's loss of liberty by extradition.
I appreciate that that will be said to be far-fetched, but Bills should not allow even for far-fetched possibilities. It is the mark of slovenly and slack legislators that they tell us that there is no possibility of contingencies being fulfilled for which legislation leaves an opening. Time and again, life is so strange that even far-fetched contingencies sometimes become real.
The right question is: is it in fact a judicial authority; not whether someone, whoever he may be and on whatever evidence, believes that it is a judicial authority. At the least, I hope that the Minister will agree to reconsider the matter, because it is not unimportant. If I can show that my client faces an arrest warrant issued by a body that is not a judicial authority and can prove that case beyond a reasonable doubt, the belief of whoever that that is not so should not allow for extradition and arrest or, more
So I move the amendment hoping that Ministers will reconsider the wording. If I have missed their previous explanation, I apologise, but I do not think that they have ever given one, and it is time to know why those odd words appear in the Bill. I beg to move.
Baroness Turner of Camden: I support the amendment moved by my noble friend, to which my name is attached. The Bill is an extraordinary measureas I think that many Members of the Committee agree. Much of what is proposed in it is controversial, as was apparent during debate on Second Reading.
As my noble friend said, we are not in the business of opposing extradition. Crime is becoming international, and no one should be able to escape justice simply by crossing a border into another country. So we have in the framework directivealthough not in the Bill32 categories of offences that fall within the scope of the Bill. There will be an opportunity to debate that when we discuss later amendments.
Who can issue a valid arrest warrant? In foreign jurisdictions, there are many different bodies, but it is clear that by "a judicial authority" is meant a court. As my noble friend said, it is not a question of belief. It is either a court or it is not. It is only a judicial authority within the meaning of the framework directiveand hence the Billif it is a court. A belief that a body issuing an arrest warrant is a court will simply not do. That is so clear and obvious, and it is so necessary that there should be no ambiguity, that I cannot believe that the Government will not accept the amendment.
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