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Lord Filkin: I am always slightly hesitant to imply that it is possible that parliamentary draftsmen's work could ever be improved. Nevertheless, we shall give the suggestion the consideration it merits and reflect on it over the summer.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I am grateful to the Minister for his response and for making it clear that the burden of ensuring that notification is given must be placed on the judge. I am also grateful to the Minister for taking on board my noble and learned friend's suggestion with regard to improved drafting. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Baroness said: Amendments Nos. 94, 95 and 96 are grouped together. I move Amendment No. 94 and speak to Amendments Nos. 95 and 96. The point at issue is the timescale within which the person should be notified of the withdrawal of the warrant for his extradition. This should be a straightforward matter. When the judge has made a decision to discharge the person, he or she must be informed as soon as possible and subsequently discharged. At the moment there is no reference to a timescale on the face of the Bill. We consider that that should be remedied.
Last week I made it clear that I very much appreciated that putting strict time limits in different pieces of legislation in terms of a certain number of days or hours might make it very difficult for the courts to schedule their business. I do not seek to do that here but I have tried to retain a degree of urgency in the wording of the amendment by stating that the notification should be given,
Viscount Bledisloe: I do not see the point of the amendment. It is reasonable to expect someone who is doing something positive to do it as soon as is reasonably practical. If the prosecution does not do something as soon as is reasonably practical, it may lose the proceedings. But what would happen if the judge forgot he had to carry out the measure as soon as is reasonably practical? The judge tells the good man that he is going to be let out. If the judge does not do so as soon as is reasonably practical, that may be disappointing for the man but he will still be let out when he is told about that. The measure involves no sanction. Would the judge be sacked for being late in carrying out the measure? It seems to me mistrustful of the judge to think that he would deliberately delay the matter and pointless and remedyless to insert the provision.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Perhaps I should respond briefly. I purposely did not insert the word "reasonably" because I thought that that could lead to some reviews later on. I tried to create a balance between giving assurance to people who may be extradited as opposed to not putting too heavy handed guidance upon the judge who will be very mindful of the proper steps that need to be taken.
Lord Mayhew of Twysden: I hesitate to inflict an argument between lawyers on the Committee. I respectfully suggest that it is a helpful steer. It is saying, "Get on with it". It does not have to be an immediate sanction to back up a failure to comply with a steer. I should have thought it helpful rather than otherwise.
Lord Filkin: Because it is rumoured to be my birthday, I thought that I was under an obligation to be as positive and helpful as possible. Therefore, as a point of public policy, we agree that the thrust should be that the district judge informs the person as soon as possible. We therefore saw no particular demerit in making that explicit on the face of the Bill. We were minded to go away and reflect on that and to determine whether we could bring forward an amendment to that effect. I do not wish that to in any way imply that all future amendments will be treated in the same positive spirit.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Although it is the Minister's birthday, I am glad that he has given me his birthday present. I accept the offer that he will go away and seek to determine whether something can be drafted that meets my point.
Lord Mayhew of Twysden: I do not know whether I am in order to raise this pointI think that I am, but I shall be told if I am not. I should like to make the same point as I made originally about Clause 43(4). It would be more appropriate to insert the words, "Where this section applies" before the words, "The judge may". It is the same point.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): I can certainly indicate that this, too, will be brought to the draftsman's attention. I think that he will have a very close relationship with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew.
The noble Baroness said: I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, will think that this is yet another gift. This group of amendments probably wins the prize for length and I shall endeavour to ensure that I do not, as a consequence, make a speech of commensurate length to reflect that.
All these amendments are concerned with the possibility of "re-extradition"that is, sending a person from the United Kingdom to serve a sentence imposed by a foreign court after a trial to which he was temporarily surrendered. In the context of these amendments, the term "re-extradition" means extradition from the United Kingdom to the same place for a second time in the particular circumstances which I shall describe. For the first time, this Bill allows for the temporary extradition of serving UK prisoners. If we receive an extradition request in respect of a serving UK prisoner, it will be open to the
I shall say a bit more about the procedure and implications for the United Kingdom's sentencing calculations when we come to discuss the amendments standing in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Donaldson of Lymington. As I have explained, the provisions ensure that a person can be temporarily extradited. I could go into greater depth, but the issue may not prove to be contentious. I shall be happy to deal with any issue that arises. I beg to move.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We welcome the amendments, but I have a couple of minor questions. If the Minister is not in a position to answer them today, I shall be happy for her to write to me. I merely want her to flesh out the background to the amendments.
Have the Government any statistics on how often this sort of re-extradition occurs and whether any problem has arisen with existing legislation? At what stage can a defendant appeal against the decision to impose a custodial sentence arrived at by the requesting country during the trial? Does it happen before his return to serve the remainder of his UK sentence, or after that, when he has served his UK sentence and has a re-extradition hearing as set out in Amendment No. 249B? That is not something that I expect to be answered today, but I want to put it on the record. If the Minister is able to answer today, that is fine. If not, I shall have to wait.
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