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House of Lords

Thursday, 30th October 2003.

The House met at eleven of the clock: The CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES on the Woolsack.

Prayers—Read by the Lord Bishop of Guildford.

Royal Assent

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): My Lords, I have to notify the House, in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967, that the Queen has signified her Royal Assent to the following Acts:

Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act,

Legal Deposit Libraries Act,

Household Waste Recycling Act,

Sustainable Energy Act,

Female Genital Mutilation Act,

Crime (International Co-operation) Act,

London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act,

Hereford Markets Act.

Extradition Bill

11.6 a.m.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now further considered on Report.

Moved, That the Bill be further considered on Report.—(Lord Bassam of Brighton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Clause 95 [Death penalty]:

Lord Goodhart moved Amendment No. 235:


    Page 50, line 9, leave out subsection (3).

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I can be brief in dealing with the amendment. I am glad to see that the Minister has attached her name in support, and so the Government accept it.

The amendment relates to Clause 95, which states in subsection (1):


    "The Secretary of State must not order a person's extradition to a category 2 territory if he could be, will be or has been sentenced to death for the offence concerned in the category 2 territory".

Subsection (3) states:


    "Subsection (1) does not apply if the person has consented to his extradition under section 127".

Under Clause 127, consent, once given, is irrevocable. Without the amendment we would be faced with the possibility of extraditing someone to a jurisdiction in which the death penalty can be imposed even though that person has changed his mind and is unwilling to go to that territory. We do not believe that that situation ought to be allowed to happen.

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Of course it should, and will, remain possible for someone who is determined to go to stand trial in a country in which conviction of the offence will carry the death penalty to do so of their own free will. That is obviously a right that they should have. But, in a case of that kind, we believe that it should be their own decision up until the last minute when they board the aeroplane or whatever is taking them to the overseas territory in question. At no stage before then should there be any compulsion on them to accept extradition. I beg to move.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, for tabling the amendment. It was supported on the previous occasion by my noble friend Lord Clinton-Davis, who suggested that this provision should be removed. We were so impressed with the argument on that occasion that I have put my name to the amendment. I am delighted that the noble Lord moved it with such eloquence.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 96 [Speciality]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 236:


    Page 50, line 28, at end insert—


"(d) an offence in respect of which the person waives the right that he would have (but for this paragraph) not to be dealt with for the offence."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a minor drafting amendment which allows a person to waive speciality protection; that is, the right to be tried only for the offence for which he was extradited. The amendment will enable us to achieve a position equivalent to that in Part 1 of the Bill. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 100 [Time limit for order for extradition or discharge]:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendments Nos. 237 and 238:


    Page 51, line 32, leave out subsection (2) and insert—


"(2) If the person applies to the High Court to be discharged, the court must order his discharge."
Page 51, line 35, leave out subsections (4) to (9).

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 239 not moved.]

Clause 101 [Information]:

[Amendment No. 240 not moved.]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 241:


    After Clause 102, insert the following new clause—


"The appropriate day
(1) This section applies for the purposes of sections 94 and 100 if the appropriate judge sends a case to the Secretary of State under this Part for his decision whether a person is to be extradited.
(2) If the person is charged with an offence in the United Kingdom, the appropriate day is the day on which one of these occurs—
(a) the charge is disposed of;
(b) the charge is withdrawn;
(c) proceedings in respect of the charge are discontinued;

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(d) an order is made for the charge to lie on the file, or in relation to Scotland, the diet is deserted pro loco et tempore.
(3) If under section 98(3) or 99(2) the Secretary of State defers making a decision until the person has served a sentence, the appropriate day is the day on which the person finishes serving the sentence.
(4) If section 126 applies in relation to the request for the person's extradition (the request concerned) the appropriate day is—
(a) the day on which the Secretary of State makes an order under that section, if the order is for proceedings on the other request to be deferred;
(b) the day on which an order under section 182 is made, if the order under section 126 is for proceedings on the request concerned to be deferred and the order under section 182 is for the proceedings to be resumed.
(5) If section 181 applies in relation to the request for the person's extradition, the appropriate day is—
(a) the day on which the Secretary of State makes an order under that section, if the order is for proceedings on the warrant to be deferred;
(b) the day on which an order under section 182 is made, if the order under section 181 is for proceedings on the request to be deferred and the order under section 182 is for the proceedings to be resumed.
(6) If more than one of subsections (2) to (5) applies, the appropriate day is the latest of the days found under the subsections which apply.
(7) In any other case, the appropriate day is the day on which the judge sends the case to the Secretary of State for his decision whether the person is to be extradited."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 103 [Appeal where case sent to Secretary of State]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 242:


    Page 53, line 38, at end insert—


"(7A) If notice of an appeal under section 110 against the decision which resulted in the order for the person's discharge is given in accordance with subsection (5) of that section—
(a) subsections (6) and (7) do not apply;
(b) no appeal may be brought under this section if the High Court has made its decision on the appeal."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 242, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 243.

I appreciate that, at first glance, it is not at all clear what the amendments seek to achieve. However, as I shall seek to demonstrate, their purpose is fairly simple. As your Lordships may be aware, the multiple avenues of appeal are one of the failings that bedevil our present extradition arrangements. There are, quite simply, too many opportunities to appeal and, as a result, too many unnecessary appeal hearings. That is why the Bill provides that there should be a single appeal hearing before the High Court.

However, on very close examination we discovered that there might be a loophole. If in a Part 2 case the district judge sends the case to the Secretary of State, the person whose extradition is sought might want to appeal against that decision. If the Secretary of State then decides to throw out the case, the requesting state

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may wish to lodge an appeal. Both of these appeals would be to the High Court but, as the Bill is currently drafted, they could be heard at different times.

That does not seem entirely sensible. We believe that it would be far better for the High Court to deal with both matters at the same time in order that all the factors relating to a person's case can be considered and taken together. That is what the amendments allow for, in particular by preventing the person waiting for the outcome of the requesting state's appeal before submitting their own appeal.

I hope your Lordships will agree that this is a sensible rationalisation which will help all parties. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 243:


    Page 53, leave out line 42 and insert "or (4) of the order he has made in respect of the person"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 113 [Appeal to High Court: time limit for start of hearing]:


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