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Lord Lamont of Lerwick: I find what the Minister says quite persuasive, although I am struck by the way in which she uses the term "flexibility". One could stand that on its head and say that what the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, was advocating was more flexibility in the application of the extradition procedure. The Minister is all on the sideas is this Billof extraditing people willy-nilly. As we keep saying, there is very little in the Bill to safeguard people's rights.
The amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, would introduce more procedural flexibility. As he has said, it would enable for certain categories of country the partial removal of dual criminality not to apply. I accept the Minister's comments about countries such as Australia and Canada, but that leaves one more than ever puzzled by the distinction between Parts 1 and 2. It is not a distinction that I find very easy to understand. In some ways, I cannot see why America cannot be a Part 1 country, leaving out the question of capital offences and capital punishment. The noble Baroness smiles, but I should like to smile when she says that Greece is among the countries in which the Government have most confidence.
The issue is very tricky, and even I am a little hesitant about naming countries and making points about them. However, I do not have as much confidence in certain European countries' systems of justice as I would have in the Australian or Canadian systems. Many people would dissent from the view expressed by the Minister, that those are the groups of countries in which we have the most confidence. Ministers always side-step whenever it is raised the terrible case in Greece of the plane spotters. They never explain how we can have confidence in a system of justice that required the Foreign Secretary to intervene before the matter was finally resolved. I accept the Minister's logic, but it was possible to disagree with the remarks with which she accompanied it.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: It is really because Norway and Iceland have signed the framework decision and the Swiss have not. That is the way in which we would consider the matter. It very much takes on board the import of what the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, said. He is really saying, "I only want those countries to be in Part 1 which are bound by the framework decision".
As regards Part 1, all our partners in the EUwe shall soon be 27 in numberare part of the European Union family. I know that the noble Lord will say that one does not always share the same intimacy with all the members of one's family. That may be so but they are all members of the same family and we have agreed to behave in comity with our EU partners. The framework agreement was negotiated with skill, diligence and energy by all those in the group who signed it. We have to acknowledge that that is the reality of where we are today.
Lord Goodhart: I have to say on this occasion that I am somewhat disappointed with the Minister's response. First, she asked what was the point of having category 1 if you could not get rid of dual criminality. There are very significant advantages in category 1 status that have nothing to do with dual criminality, in particular the greatly increased speed with which one can obtain extradition as a result of not having to provide evidence or information of a prima facie case and of not having to go through the Home Secretary, which gives rise to problems of judicial review. As I say, there are considerable advantages in category 1 status without the relaxation of the dual criminality rule.
It may be my fault for not having explained more clearly what I was after in this case. My amendments in the group we are discussing propose that no state which is not a signatory to the European framework decision shall get the benefit of the relaxation of the dual criminality rule. However, that is not my final or unconditional conclusion. I also saidperhaps not fully enoughwhen I moved the amendment that I would be perfectly content if the Government were to come back with an amendment which made it possible for new states to be added to the category 1 list with a relaxation of the dual criminality rule which was different from the European framework decision. That plainly gives more flexibility.
What I really object to is the idea of one-size-fits-all and the suggestion that any country which is admitted to category 1 status must accept the European framework decision as it stands even if it is not a party to that decision and even if the United Kingdom and the other state concerned would prefer either not to relax the dual criminality rule at all or to relax it in some way which differed from the way in which it is relaxed by the European framework decision. Far from being rigid, my intention is to give increased flexibility. I am reluctant to undertake the task of drafting a measure for the Government to put forward. That is why I have tabled the amendment in a very simple form which proposes that there can be no
The noble Baroness said: In moving Amendment No. 111, I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 116. The amendments were tabled in order to probe the drafting of subsections (2) and (3) of Clause 63. In great measure they foreshadow the debate we shall have shortly on the Government's Amendments Nos. 112 and 126. Therefore, I shall speak briefly. The debate concerns the territorial point raised on Second Reading and on which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, gave evidence to the Select Committee.
The Deputy Chairman of Committees: I apologise as I read out the text of Amendment No. 112, not that of Amendment No. 111. After the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, moved the amendment, I should have said "Amendment proposed, page 32, line 11, after 'territory' insert 'that issued the request'".
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I must confess that I was concentrating on what the noble Baroness said and I did not notice that the wrong text was read out. I thank the noble Lord the Deputy Chairman of Committees for his acuity on this occasion.
As I say, I thank the noble Baroness for moving the amendment in the way that she did. She made it clear that it was a probing amendment. I hope that I shall be able to explain why we think that it is not necessary and why the way in which Clause 63 as currently drafted suffices.
As the Committee will know, Clause 63 is an interpretation clause which defines what constitutes an extradition offence; that is, an offence for which the UK can extradite. It applies where the person has been accused of, or convicted but sentenced for, an offence in a category 1 territory. It sets out what conduct can constitute an extradition offence. It does this by reference to the penalty that the conduct can attract and the location of the conduct.
The amendments seek to add unnecessary language into an already clear passage. Subsection (1) of Clause 63 requires the conduct to be an offence in a category 1 territory. Subsections (2) and (3) require the offence to have taken place in the category 1 territory. That is the important point. The conduct must have taken place in the category 1 territory, not a category 1 territory.
So, the Bill already makes it clear that where a person is accused of a crime in a category 1 territory, the provisions of Clause 63(2) and (3) apply only where the conduct took place in that country. I notice that the noble Baroness nods so I think that she is with me. The provisions cannot apply if the conduct took place in any other category 1 territory or, for that matter, in a category 2 territory. I respectfully suggest that it is unnecessary to add the words "that issued the request" as that is implicit in the phrasing of the clause. We believe that the amendments are not necessary. To our mind, the wording in the Bill is clear. I think that the parliamentary draftsman, who has already been given a number of shocks today, would have a particularly big one if we did not appreciate the clarity and precision of the drafting in this instance.
Further evidence is provided by the remaining parts of Clause 63. Subsections (4), (5) and (6) are very clearly designed to cater for cases where the conduct has occurred outside the requesting state.
These provisions would obviously not be necessary if there were any way in which subsections (2) and (3) could apply to conduct outside the requesting state. But since subsections (2) and (3) cannot be interpreted in that way, we do need the rest of Clause 63.