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Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, this has been quite a sparky little debate. I give great credit to the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, for sparking off some further thoughts, certainly on our Benches. I am extremely grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, for moving the amendment and arguing the case for it very clearly. I am also extremely grateful for the words of support from those on both opposition Benches for the government amendment. We are not far away from playing on the same football pitch on the issue; we are in the same territory.
We are concerned that a person arrested in connection with an extradition case is aware of the reason for the arrest. That goes to the heart of the point made by the noble Viscount. In many cases, the police will be in possession of the warrant at the time of the arrest and will show it to the person at that pointI shall come to the issue of giving and showing in a momentbut that will not always be the case, of course. One has to be realistic and accept that. The details of those wanted for extradition purposes will be entered on the police national computer, so a police officer could come across such a person by chance.
That will not happen often, given the small number of cases involved. I suggest that it will not happen with great regularity, but it could happen, say, as a result of a stop-and-search exercise or some sort of traffic stop. We cannot therefore expect every officer to carry a copy of every single outstanding arrest warrant. There will be occasions when a person is arrested by an officer who is not in possession of the warrant and would not be in a position to show it. That is not what we expect to be the case in every single instance.
As the Bill is currently drafted, there is a requirement in such circumstances for the person to be shown the warrant if he requests it. That is in line with normal domestic procedures that we all understand. In Grand Committee, both opposition parties forcefully made the case that the person should automatically be shown the warrant without waiting for him first to request it. Indeed, that is the broad purpose of their amendments today.
The noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, forcefully suggested that such people should be given on request a copy of the warrant. Effectively, that will happen because clearly the person arrested will want to have legal advice and rightly he should have it. I would
In general, we are happy to go along with the notion which the opposition parties moved in earlier amendments in Committee. The domestic situation is not completely analogous. After all, a domestic warrant is simply an instrument for arrest whereas a Part 1 warrant will contain all the details of the crime for which the extradition is sought. Accordingly, we have brought forward amendments which provide that a person who is not shown the warrant at the time of his arrest must be shown it as soon as practical thereafter. There is therefore no longer a requirement for that person to ask for it first.
Without being unduly immodest, I believe that the amendments standing in the name of my noble friend Lady Scotland are neater and better drafted than those put forward by the Opposition. That is hardly surprising as we have access to expert parliamentary counsel. I therefore hope that I have reassured the noble Viscount on the point which he forcefully argued. I am grateful that welcome has been given to government Amendments Nos. 30, 32, 42, 43, 195, 197, 205 and 207. I hope that noble Lords will feel happy to support them today.
Viscount Bledisloe: My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, I fully accept that it may not be practical instantly to give the person a copy of the warrant. I suspect that cases in which the arresting officer does not have it may be more frequent than the Minister believes. After all, these are serious crimes and the person's identity may be flashed all over the country. The warrant may be in London and the person may be detected like someone in The Thirty-Nine Steps crossing the Tay Bridge.
I am not fussed about that, but I am concerned about the moment when it is possible for the constable to show the person a copy of the warrant. It is possible within half an hour to give it to him because, presumably, most police stations have photocopying machines. The difference between showing and giving is considerable. I am not asking for urgency and for disaster to strike if it does not happen, but I say that it is not satisfactory if the person has to wait until a legal adviser comes along. He can ask for it, so why should not the person involved have it if he can see it? An intelligent English speaking person, if he can see it, can follow it, so why should not the poor handicapped person who does not speak English well or who does not have a good memory have a document that he can take to his legal adviser?
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I indicated earlier that I had heard what the noble Viscount said and I believe that what he describes will, in effect, be how it works. I believe that the noble Viscount has put his finger on it: it may well be that the person to whom
Lord Dholakia: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister. He gave two examples. In the first, he referred to someone being arrested following the stop and search procedure, but that is not what we are talking about. This is a completely different issue. If a person is arrested on a warrant for extradition, that is a separate matter and that information will have been available prior to the arrest.
Secondly, the Minister said that he would provide examples of the difference between showing and giving but he did not say why the warrant should not be given to the individual. He did not explain that point. My position is precisely the same as that of the noble Viscount. Perhaps I may ask the Minister to look seriously at this issue.
Ultimately, it is not simply a case that if someone has legal representation, he should be given a copy or allowed to see the documentation; more importantly, an individual must see the document so that he can then decide what kind of legal representation he wants, and on that basis he will seek legal advice. If he does not have the basic information, other than being shown rather than being given the documentation, that will make the case very complicated.
Perhaps I may suggest that the Minister takes back this matter rather than trying to resolve the problem at this stage. We can then return on Third Reading to see whether there are alternative means by which an individual may have access to the information. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Viscount said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 31, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 196, 206, 231 and 240. These amendments refer to the language in which the warrant should be presented to the accused person. I have taken into account the views expressed in Grand Committee and have redrafted the amendments to meet some of the points raised thenin particular, those of the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, and the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart. Perhaps even the Minister will look at these amendments with a more sympathetic eye.
We all agree that anyone arrested in this country deserves to be able to understand the reasons for his arrest and what the charge against him is. How, then, do our amendments address this issue? The first amendment is to Clause 4, which concerns the arrest of a person under a Part 1 warrant. We argue that the person must be shown a copy of the warrant,
The other four amendments, which deal with procedures under Part 2both arrest and provisional arrest under a Part 2 warrant and the final decision for extradition supplied to the defendant by the judge or the Secretary of State in Clauses 93 and 101 respectivelyamend the Bill so that the warrant or information must be provided to the person,
Part 1 deals not with domestic warrants, but with warrants issued abroad. The European arrest warrant is a transitional arrangement, as my noble friend Lord Hodgson and others pointed out in Grand Committee. Might it not be more pertinent to look further than our current obligations for translation, as set out under the ECHR? I believe that there are clear grounds for accepting this amendment on the basis of the annex to the framework decision about language. That, if I may be permitted to read it, states:
The noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, pointed out that in regard to warrants issued for the extradition of a person from the United Kingdom, the warrant would probably be in English. However, we are talking about an agreement made between several EU member states. With agreements made between our European partners we constantly have the problem that documents have to be translated into the various official languages of member states. That is why we have proposed Amendment No. 31. Under normal circumstances we would expect the warrant to be shown to the person in English, but if he or she requests otherwise, it could be produced in the language of any category 1 country.
The phrase "if he requests it" appears in all five amendments and is a direct response to the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, and the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe. Both have commented that it may be impossible to know what language the defendant understands. He may keep silent and then claim that he does not understand English and so uses that as an excuse to be discharged. Therefore, we have proposed a presumption that primarily the warrant be shown to the
One important reason why I believe that these amendments should be introduced into the Bill relates to the case of reciprocal standards. At Committee stage, my noble friend Lord Hodgson outlined the shocking case of Teresa Daniels and the ordeals that she suffered being charged, being allowed to go free and then being re-arrested without any knowledge of what was going on or what stage the proceedings had reached. That happened because the lawyers and the judge were speaking in Spanish, discussing a warrant in Spanish, without the interpreter translating the relevant facts to her.
This is an important point of principle. We may have obligations already under ECHR and under the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 to provide interpreters, but we should not be shy of putting in another provision to assist the defendant to understand his or her case. We know that other countries have been more than a little remiss with their translation services, so it would be constructive and in the spirit of co-operation with our partners in extradition if we were to provide a translation at the request of the defendant. I beg to move.
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