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Baroness Carnegy of Lour: I may be quite wrong in asking this and should know, but will all the countries involved in Part 1 be part of Schengen? The secure system is a Schengen system, and will the countries necessarily have access to it?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: All EU countries will be party to Schengen, but there is the possibility that non-EU countries will be part of the scheme. That probably does not entirely satisfy the noble Baroness, but that is the situation.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: It does not satisfy me. The whole argument deployed by the noble Lord was that the system was secure and closed. If there were an open system, the provisions would not be safe.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The noble Baroness is right. Other countries can use an open system to transmit documents, and nothing can necessarily be drawn from that as wrong in any way. Within Schengen and the EU countries, a secure system is being set up. That adds a great deal more in terms of

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integrity, but it should not be seen as taking anything away from documents sent through the post and by other means all the time.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: I am wondering whether my noble friend's amendment has a use in the case of, say, Norway.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Norway is part of Schengen in any event. That is my understanding.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: I am a little concerned. I have heard of all sorts of systems being secure, and then we find that they are not so secure as we had been led to believe. Will the noble Lord explain how the security is achieved and maintained? How can people be prevented from gaining access?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Schengen computer system is closed. It is discrete to those countries party to Schengen. As I described in my notes, the UK end of it is housed within NCIS. My assumption would be that, in each country, there would be something similar or parallel to NCIS that would be the receiving and sending organisation, and that those organisations will be party to a closed and secure computer system. I am sorry if that does not entirely satisfy the noble Lord. If he and other Members of the Committee wish it, we can set out in more detail more of the background to that closed system than we can describe in Committee this afternoon. However, the system is based on those principles.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick: When the Minister says "any document", does that include the warrant?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Yes, it does.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick: The procedure followed for transmission of a lot of legal documents is that the original would have to follow. Would the original have to follow in the case of the warrant, or would a fax be acceptable?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My understanding is that a fax would be acceptable.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: As a completely lay person, and not having had any involvement at all in extradition proceedings, I have to say that it does not sound as though the matter has been properly thought out. Can a warrant arrive by fax? That seems extraordinary. Can a country that is put on the list of Part 1 countries but that does not have access to the secure Schengen system send documents in an open way? We need some more detail, do we not?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: With respect to the noble Baroness, it is common that legal documents are sent by facsimile. What we are describing is a secure system. It works well. We are simply clarifying the matter in legislation. I am really puzzled as to why Opposition Members of the Committee think it somehow odd and

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strange. It is not. It is common practice. We are trying to ensure absolute security, and the Schengen secure system will achieve that.

Perhaps for the record, I ought to add—the issue of non-Schengen countries was raised—that non-Schengen countries can send documents by means other than fax. In every case, NCIS has to check and certify that the warrant has come from a bona fide source. In a sense, there is a double check in that event. I continue to be slightly puzzled by the questioning of a system that seems to the Government not only valid, but secure, and that attempts to ensure that we have a very high standard in the transmission of documentation.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 109 not moved.]

Clause 62, as amended, agreed to.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 109A:


    After Clause 62, insert the following new clause—


"PART 1 WARRANT: TRANSMISSION BY OTHER ELECTRONIC MEANS
(1) This section applies if a Part 1 warrant is issued and the information contained in the warrant—
(a) is transmitted to the designated authority by electronic means (other than by facsimile transmission), and
(b) is received by the designated authority in a form in which it is intelligible and which is capable of being used for subsequent reference.
(2) This Act has effect as if the information received by the designated authority were the Part 1 warrant.
(3) A copy of the information received by the designated authority may be received in evidence as if it were the Part 1 warrant."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 109B:


    After Clause 62, insert the following new clause—


"PERSONS SERVING SENTENCES OUTSIDE TERRITORY WHERE CONVICTED
(1) This section applies if an arrest warrant is issued in respect of a person by an authority of a category 1 territory and the warrant contains the statement referred to in subsection (2).
(2) The statement is one that—
(a) the person is alleged to be unlawfully at large from a prison in one territory (the imprisoning territory) in which he was serving a sentence after conviction of an offence specified in the warrant by a court in another territory (the convicting territory), and
(b) the person was serving the sentence in pursuance of international arrangements for prisoners sentenced in one territory to be repatriated to another territory in order to serve their sentence, and
(c) the warrant is issued with a view to his arrest and extradition to the category 1 territory for the purpose of serving a sentence or another form of detention imposed in respect of the offence.
(3) If the category 1 territory is either the imprisoning territory or the convicting territory, section 2(2)(b) has effect as if the reference to the statement referred to in subsection (5) of that section were a reference to the statement referred to in subsection (2) of this section.

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(4) If the category 1 territory is the imprisoning territory—
(a) section 2(6)(e) has effect as if "the category 1 territory" read "the convicting territory";
(b) section 10(2) has effect as if "an extradition offence" read "an extradition offence in relation to the convicting territory";
(c) section 20 has effect as if, in subsections (1)(c), (2)(c) and (3)(c), after "entitled" there were inserted "in the convicting territory";
(d) section 37(5) has effect as if "a category 1 territory" read "the convicting territory" and as if "the category 1 territory" in both places read "the convicting territory";
(e) section 51(4) has effect as if "a category 1 territory" read "the convicting territory" and as if "the category 1 territory" in both places read "the convicting territory";
(f) section 64(1) has effect as if "a category 1 territory" read "the convicting territory";
(g) section 64(2) has effect as if "the category 1 territory" in the opening words and paragraphs (a) and (c) read "the convicting territory" and as if "the category 1 territory" in paragraph (b) read "the imprisoning territory";
(h) in section 64, subsections (3), (4), (5), (6) and (8) have effect as if "the category 1 territory" in each place read "the convicting territory"."

The noble Lord said: I am sure that I shall be hanged for saying this, but although these amendments may appear complicated, we shall endeavour to demonstrate that they are really quite simple and uncontentious. I am aware that statements of that kind are probably the wrong thing to say and may set alarm bells ringing in the minds of some Members of the Committee on the Benches opposite. However, I hope that they will bear with me and take what I say at face value.

The amendments are concerned with the extradition of escaped prisoners who have been the subject of a repatriation of prisoners agreement. It might be helpful if I briefly explain the background. As noble Lords may know, repatriation of prisoner agreements are very common and exist between all major countries. Essentially, they enable a person who has been convicted to a long period of imprisonment in a foreign country to be sent back to his native country to serve out his period of imprisonment there.

Apart from the obvious practical benefits that it is likely to be easier for the prisoner to communicate with prison officers and other prisoners in his home country, repatriation also makes it easier for the prisoner to receive visits from, and maintain contact with, his family. Family contact is generally an important ingredient in eventual rehabilitation and something to be encouraged. So repatriation of prisoners is something to be welcomed and is something that all of our major extradition partners engage in. However, the fact that repatriation is not unknown or uncommon means that our extradition procedures need to be able to cope with it. We need to ensure that if a person is repatriated from one country to another and then escapes from prison we can still send them back if they are traced to Britain.

That requires some adaptation to the Bill. Let us imagine that a person has been convicted in Austria and repatriated to France. If noble Lords look at Clause 2(5), they will see what the statement

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accompanying an extradition request in a conviction case has to contain. In the example that I have just cited, France could not furnish the necessary statement, since it could not say that the person had been convicted in France. Equally, Austria would be unable to provide the statement because it could not say that the person was sought for the purpose of serving a sentence of imprisonment in Austria. So, as I indicated, some minor adaptations are required to ensure that the our extradition procedures can operate in circumstances where the person has escaped from a prison in a country other than the one in which he was convicted.

Clause 136 already achieves that in cases where the person was repatriated between two Part 2 countries. It enables either the convicting or the imprisoning territory to request extradition, and there is a very similar provision in our current extradition legislation. However, Clause 136 applies only to Part 2 countries. Due to an oversight, for which I apologise, the Bill does not include an equivalent provision for Part 1.

Amendment No. 109B, standing in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, rectifies that omission. We are also tweaking Clause 136 to ensure that we are able to cope where a person has been repatriated between a Part 1 country and a Part 2 country—for example, where a person has been repatriated from Canada to France or vice versa.

I apologise for having spoken at some length, but I hope that I have been able to reassure Members of the Committee that the amendments do nothing more than ensure that those people who have been repatriated and then escaped from prison do not slip through the extradition net. I trust that I have persuaded noble Lords that these are desirable amendments and that they should be agreed to. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 63 [Extradition offences: person not sentenced for offence]:


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