Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I am able to answer some of the questions.

In relation to statistics, we have never done this before—this will be the first time that we are able to extradite someone who has a prison sentence. Dependent on the nature of the sentence, it would be very onerous indeed if we had to wait for a significant period before the person was sent back to the other country, tried for another offence and then sent back here. This is an innovative step; we have never done it before, so we are really in new water.

The noble Baroness asked at what stage there could be an appeal. The system is that the person would be returned. The agreement inherent in the provisions is that, at the conclusion of the proceedings—the trial and so on—the person would be returned to serve the remainder of his time here. I cannot say definitively, although I will check for the noble Baroness, whether there is any distinction between the trial and the appeal or whether there would be any difficulty in concluding the foreign proceedings, however long they may continue, before extraditing. I shall seek to clarify that point, but I do not believe that there would be any problem.

1 Jul 2003 : Column GC179

The last question related to what happens after the sentence. After the trial has concluded, the person will return to the United Kingdom to continue to serve his sentence. For the purposes of information, the noble Baroness may know that we have memorandums of understanding with some of our partners in relation to transfer of prisoners, and there would be nothing to prevent a prisoner who had been convicted and sentenced in another country from making a request that whatever sentence imposed on that person in the other country could be served at the end of the other sentence or on the basis of another agreement.

The measure will helpfully allow us to work much more creatively and positively with our partners in terms of ensuring that proper trials are conducted speedily and in a timely way, without having to wait too long. I shall make further inquiries in relation to the response to the appeal.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: That was very helpful, especially in the light of the discussions we will have later.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 50, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 51 and 52 agreed to.

Clause 53 [Request for consent to other offence being dealt with]:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 97B:

    Page 26, line 40, leave out "an" and insert "a judicial"

The noble Baroness said: I hope that I shall be able to deal with these amendments very briefly. As Members of the Committee know, we amended the Bill in another place to provide that all incoming judicial warrants must come from a judicial authority. If the warrant is not certified as coming from a judicial source, no action can be taken upon it.

Since we moved the first amendment in another place, we have been scouring Part 1 of the Bill for other provisions where the "judicial" stipulation needs to be inserted. The Committee knows about the change in Clause 5 for that purpose. However, we have been able to identify three additional places where we need to specify that the request must come from a judicial authority.

I am sorry that we did not pick up those additional matters previously, but the amendments would cure the position. I hope that Members of the Committee will be able to find favour with it. I beg to move.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My noble friend Lord Hodgson has brought to my attention an apparent grouping error. I raise the matter now only because it will make life easier later. Included in the groupings on the Government's list of amendments is Amendment No. 7268A, which plainly does not exist. I hope that it does not; otherwise, we will be debating the Bill for a few months to come. If the amendment listed is

1 Jul 2003 : Column GC180

supposed to be Amendment No. 268A, it is tabled in my name and will not be dealt with until we consider a much later grouping.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I think that it is a typographical error.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I am grateful to the noble Baroness.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 98:

    Page 27, line 13, at end insert—

"( ) The judge must satisfy himself that the suspect has been notified of the second request and has an opportunity to make meaningful representations at the consent hearing, either in person or through his legal representatives."

The noble Baroness said: With the leave of the Committee, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 100, 101, 103, 221, 224 and 226, which are tabled in my name. They were tabled as a result of a briefing from the Law Society. They focus on notification, representation and legal advice in instances where there is a second or further extradition request.

Clauses 53 to 57 and the corresponding Part 2 provisions—Clauses 127 to 129—deal with the difficult—certainly difficult to me—area of a second request for extradition and the consent to be given by the appropriate judge that the person may be extradited to face prosecution for other offences alleged to have taken place. Although the provisions set out what is to be considered, there is no provision to require that a defendant has been informed and given the opportunity to make representation, whether in writing or through legal representatives.

The provisions, we are advised, risk a second request being an administrative matter rather than a fresh set of proceedings. They appear to be founded on the premise that the arguments that apply in relation to one request as regards distinct offences will be identical to those that would apply to a completely different set of offences and a different requesting state.

Of course we are all trying to achieve transparency at all stages of the extradition proceedings. I therefore see no reason why it should not be stated in the Bill that the judge has a duty to inform the defendant of a second request.

I note that the Liberal Democrats have gone one step further. Their amendment not only specifies the notification of the second request, the chance to make legal representation and that access to legal aid should be available to the defendant, but it also emphasises that if those matters are not provided, the Secretary of State must refuse consent altogether. The Liberal Democrats are trying to introduce the same principle to which we adhere. I beg to move.

Lord Goodhart: In this group of amendments, Amendments Nos. 99, 102, 105, 222, 225 and 227 are in my name. Those amendments have exactly the same purpose as those tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady

1 Jul 2003 : Column GC181

Anelay. There are two differences between our amendments and hers. Amendment No. 98—her amendment—refers to,

    "an opportunity to make meaningful representations",

whereas my amendment, Amendment No. 99, refers only to,

    "an opportunity to make representations".

That does not mean that the purpose of my amendment is specifically to allow people to make meaningless representations. On the contrary, it is simply a drafting point, because the opportunity to make representations must include meaningful representations. It would be absurd to construe a power to make representations as meaning that one can make representations only so long as they are meaningless. Therefore, "meaningful" is surplus to requirements.

The second point is technical, but a little more serious. In cases where it is the Secretary of State who must be satisfied that the opportunity existed, I have added a requirement that, if the Secretary of State is not satisfied,

    "that the suspect . . . has an opportunity to make representations",

he must refuse consent to extradition. I have not made any similar addition in Amendments Nos. 99 and 102, which refer to cases where it is the judge who is required to satisfy himself that there has been an opportunity to make representations.

The difference between the two cases is that if, during the course of a hearing, the judge who conducts it becomes satisfied that an opportunity has not been given, he can adjourn the hearing to enable the opportunity to be given and representations to be made. There is no need in that case to provide for an automatic termination to the proceedings and the discharge of the person who is the subject of the order. When the judicial hearing is over, there is then no way—as the Bill stands, at any rate—in which that defect can be cured. The Secretary of State would have to send a case back to the judge in order to enable proper representations to be made. He would have to send it back for a second hearing. The Bill does not provide for that.

In those circumstances, it seems necessary to specify the consequences if the Secretary of State is not satisfied that there has been an opportunity. I have therefore added in Amendments Nos. 105, 222, 225 and 227 that the Secretary of State should be required to direct the discharge. Of course, an alternative, if the Government preferred it, would be to authorise the Secretary of State to send a case back for a re-hearing but, as I have drafted it, the obligation is on the Secretary of State to discharge. Clearly, I believe that something ought to be done.

4 p.m.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I hope that the noble Baroness, and indeed the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, will not be overcome by the number of bouquets I seem to have with me today. I should say straight away that

1 Jul 2003 : Column GC182

we are grateful to them for tabling the amendments, which gives the Committee a welcome opportunity to consider what happens after extradition.

The Government fully accept the need for proper notification for the fugitive of post-extradition matters. We are happy to consider making that explicit in the Bill. Although the amendments are many in number, it is fair to say, as the noble Baroness and the noble Lord have already indicated, that they all have the same purpose, so I can safely deal with them as a job lot. I was tempted to deal with the issues as quickly as I had dealt with the other amendments. However, I appreciate that there may be an interest in how we see the matter, why it has been brought up, and perhaps in a little background. For that reason, it might help if I set some of that out.

As Members of the Committee will know, both Part 1 and Part 2 contain clauses to deal with the situation where a person has already been extradited from the UK to either a category 1 or category 2 territory, and the state to which he has been sent asks our permission either to bring additional charges or to extradite him to a third country. Two types of post-extradition issues are highlighted in that situation. The true speciality or specialty provides that an individual, once surrendered, cannot be proceeded against for offences committed prior to surrender for which they were not extradited, unless the consent of the requested state is obtained or the person has had an opportunity to leave the country to which he was extradited.

I should say in passing that there is no fiercer argument among extradition practitioners than that over whether the correct term is "specialty" or "speciality". Parliamentary Counsel has decided that the Bill should use the latter term. For my part, I shall not trespass further.

The Bill contains provisions to enable us to deal with the situation where the UK receives a valid request from the original requesting state for the person to be dealt with for an offence other than the offence for which he was extradited. Similarly, the Bill enables us to deal with requests for further extradition—that is, cases where we extradite a person to a country that then approaches us to seek our permission to extradite him to a third country, following a request from that third country.

The post-extradition provisions are an important safeguard to ensure that the extradition system is not abused by, for example, a country extraditing for an offence with the intention of proceeding with another, or a country extraditing with the intention of releasing to another country. The provisions ensure that the extradited fugitive continues to be subject to some of the protections of UK laws on extradition, even though the person has left our shores.

If we receive a post-extradition request, it will be for the district judge or the Secretary of State, depending on whether the person was originally extradited to a Part 1 or a Part 2 country, to decide how to respond to it. The district judge must hold a proper hearing—the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, touched on that—so that he can consider whether any of the bars to extradition

1 Jul 2003 : Column GC183

apply to the new request. The person may, of course, make representations in the United Kingdom hearing or to the Secretary of State against the waiver of speciality or further extradition.

All the amendments seek to provide that no decision can be taken on a post-extradition request unless the person has been notified of the new request and allowed to make representations in respect of it, either in person or through his legal representatives. I note in passing that it seems fairly unlikely, if I may respectfully say so, that a person serving a prison sentence abroad would be able to make his representations in person, for fairly obvious reasons, but that is hardly an argument against the amendments.

What may be rather more pertinent is the fact that we have no equivalent provisions in our existing legislation, even though we have the capability to cater for post-extradition requests. However, there has been no suggestion that any unfairness has arisen. I should say at this point, for the sake of completeness, that post-extradition requests are very much a rarity. The fugitive would always be aware of the post-extradition request and therefore have the opportunity to make such representations as he wished.

Having said all that, I can see that there might be no difficulty in making that point absolutely crystal clear in the Bill. Therefore, I am very happy to offer Members of the Committee the commitment that I will take the point away to consider. If we can come up with some suitable form of words that could be introduced by means of a government amendment at a later stage, I shall undertake to do that. We take the point seriously. If both the noble Baroness and the noble Lord say that there is a lack of clarity, we should probably take that into account.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page