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Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: My Lords, we are grateful to the Government for this concession which, as the Minister said, reflects discussions in Committee and on Report. There was concern on all sides of the House that the person should be given a copy of the warrant as soon as practicable. I also note that the amendment is a response to the suggestion made on page 8 of the responses to the consultation on the draft code of practice. It would be best practice if, after arrest, the custody officer is required to give the person a copy of the warrant to read and retain. We support the changes and thank the Government for them.

Viscount Bledisloe: My Lords, after the Minister's over-generous remarks, I cannot miss this opportunity of thanking him for adopting the suggestions and for bringing them forward. In particular, I find it desirable

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that the judge should have a discretion when there has been inadvertence, rather than a serious criminal being released because of some procedural matter that has made no practical difference. I thank the Minister very much.

Lord Goodhart: My Lords, we support these amendments now as we have done at earlier stages.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Filkin moved Amendments Nos. 5 to 7:


    Page 3, line 34, at end insert—


"(3A) If subsection (2) is not complied with and the person applies to the judge to be discharged, the judge may order his discharge." Page 3, line 35, leave out "(2) or"


    Page 3, line 39, after "subsection" insert "(3A) or"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 5 [Provisional Arrest]:

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 8:


    Page 4, line 3, leave out "reason to believe" and insert "reasonable grounds for believing"

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment in the name of my noble friend Lady Scotland of Asthal, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 21, 25 and 32, and Amendments Nos. 35 to 37. I shall be brief, because we are giving effect to a government concession.

At various places in the Bill, police officers and judges are required to act if they have "reason to believe" certain things to be the case. Various noble Lords have suggested that it might be better if the test were based on a requirement for "reasonable grounds for belief". We are happy to accommodate that suggestion, which is the purpose and effect of these amendments. I beg to move.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: My Lords, we welcome this government amendment, which is in response to one put forward in Committee and on Report, which was supported by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, as well as noble Lords on these Benches.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 6 [Person arrested under section 5]:

Lord Filkin moved Amendments Nos. 9 to 13:


    Page 4, line 34, leave out from beginning to "to" and insert "A copy of the warrant must be given"


    Page 4, line 36, leave out "or (5)"


    Page 4, line 37, at end insert—


"(6A) If subsection (5) is not complied with and the person applies to the judge to be discharged, the judge may order his discharge." Page 4, line 40, at end insert "or (6A)"


    Page 5, line 1, at end insert "or (6A)"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

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Clause 8 [Remand etc]:

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 14:


    Page 6, line 13, leave out "there are exceptional circumstances" and insert "it to be in the interests of justice to do so"

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I can again be brief. The announcement on Report that we would make these concessions was welcome. As currently drafted, the Bill allows for the extradition hearing to be postponed when the judge considers there to be exceptional circumstances. The noble Lord and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew of Twysden, made considerable contributions to earlier stages of the Bill. He suggested that the clause be altered to allow for postponements when it is in the interests of justice. We are happy to agree with that suggestion, which is the purpose of the amendments.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: My Lords, I rise to thank the Government for this amendment and for picking up the wording originally brought to the Committee by my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew of Twysden in an amendment moved by my noble friend Lady Anelay and the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart. We are happy with what is now proposed.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 55 [Request for consent to other offence being dealt with]:

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 15:


    Page 28, line 18, leave out "there are exceptional circumstances" and insert "it to be in the interests of justice to do so"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 57 [Request for consent to further extradition to category 1 territory]:

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 16:


    Page 29, line 35, leave out "there are exceptional circumstances" and insert "it to be in the interests of justice to do so"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 60 [Return of person to serve remainder of sentence]:

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 17:


    Page 32, line 8, after "sentence" insert "if and"

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 31. Briefly, these are drafting amendments. The Bill will allow us for the first time temporarily to extradite serving UK prisoners to stand trial abroad. The Bill provides that time spent abroad does not count against the UK sentence because otherwise the person would be credited twice for the same custody time. The one exception to that is that, following a suggestion from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Donaldson of Lymington, time spent abroad does count against the UK sentence if the person is not convicted at the overseas trial. I am grateful for that point, because, clearly, it is in the interests of justice. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

12 Nov 2003 : Column 1428

Lord Lamont of Lerwick moved Amendment No. 18:


    After Clause 69, insert the following new clause—


"COMMENCEMENT OF PART 1 (NO. 1)
This Part shall not come into force until the Secretary of State has laid a report before both Houses of Parliament confirming that all category 1 territories have demonstrated that they have an effective system of legal aid."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 18 to 20. The three amendments delay the commencement of the Bill with reference to three considerations: legal aid, translation facilities for the accused and the existence of a proper system of Euro bail—a system designed to ensure that foreigners are treated in exactly the same way for bail purposes as nationals of the countries in which they are detained.

The European arrest warrant and the framework document have been justified as creating one judicial and legal space. I do not know whether the Government would go along with that. However, it would follow that, if we are to have one legal space, we should have one broadly similar system of bail.

There is a flaw in the Government's approach in the Bill. They do not acknowledge that a foreigner is, for several reasons, naturally at a disadvantage in a foreign court. A foreigner in a UK court would also be at a certain disadvantage. Such people can be at a disadvantage because they cannot get bail or legal aid, and may simply not understand what is going on in the court because they do not speak the language. That is why we have to be careful about extradition. We have to have a series of thresholds. That is why we do not extradite for insignificant offences. It is why, in the past, we have had the principle of double criminality. There are risks of injustice occurring through the process of extradition. As I said, we must recognise that the risks that are always there can be increased when a person faces justice abroad, and that person may be innocent.

Amendment No. 18 refers to legal aid. One of the disturbing considerations in our arguments about the European arrest warrant is the absence of legal aid in quite a number of European countries. Many Mediterranean countries—Spain, Greece and Portugal—do not have adequate systems of legal aid. How can we have a system of adequate justice if there is no adequate legal aid?

That was clearly illustrated in the case of the plane spotters in Greece, which has been rather brushed aside on the grounds that it was not actually extradition. However, the case illustrates a number of issues that could easily arise with accelerated extradition procedures, as provided for in the legislation. Amendment No. 18 provides that the Secretary of State should conduct an investigation and lay before Parliament a report about legal aid within the area covered by the arrest warrant.

Amendment No. 19 adopts a similar approach but with respect to translation facilities. Fair Trials Abroad has highlighted how foreigners or British citizens in European courts often find that they do not have adequate translation facilities during court

12 Nov 2003 : Column 1429

proceedings or for the translation of documents. Under the European Convention, in theory, there are certain provisions relating to translating facilities.

Fair Trials Abroad says that it has never come across a case in France where adequate facilities have been provided. It has also made extremely serious criticisms of what happens in Portugal. I understand that in Finland the cost of translation falls on the accused, although sometimes some legal aid may be available for part of the cost. I remember watching on television recently a documentary about Geoffrey Boycott—I am not seeking to comment on the case—who found himself accused in a French court of domestic violence. He was found guilty. When he came out he said that he had not understood a word of the proceedings, which seemed a very unsatisfactory state of affairs. Anyone accused, appearing in court, should have simultaneous translation. Again, the approach in the amendment is that a report should be placed before the House.

Amendment No. 20 refers to bail and has a completely different approach. It would be insufficient just to have a report laid before the House. With respect to a person standing trial in another country, the problem is that there may be prejudice against him being given bail simply on the grounds that, because he is a foreigner, the courts think that he may abscond and, therefore, they would have to go through all the business of re-extraditing him. As has been advocated by many people, including, I think, the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, and Fair Trials Abroad, one way of dealing with that situation would be to have a system of "Euro bail". This is the first time for a long time that I have advocated a measure of European integration, but it illustrates how one European problem leads to another. This is a very serious problem from the point of view of justice.

The whole concept of Euro bail would be that bail would be made available to non-nationals on the same basis as though they were nationals of that country; that is, the risk of flight out of the country would not be a major consideration. Euro bail would be accompanied by a system whereby the country from which the accused came would be obliged to re-extradite him if he absconded. The three issues of bail, translation and legal aid are very important and bring out one of the fundamental problems of the Bill, which is that a person standing trial in another country faces certain natural disadvantages. I beg to move.


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