Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill [HL] - Commons Amendments

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 11th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Pannick Lord Pannick Crossbench 3:30 pm, 11th February 2019

My Lords, I am far less clear than the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, that it would be a breach of our obligations under the European Convention for us to supply information abroad in circumstances where it may be used in a prosecution that may lead to a death penalty. As he well knows, all the cases concern extradition. They concern circumstances in which this country is removing a person to face possible trial abroad where that person may be executed. The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly made it clear that that is a breach of our obligations. I am far less clear on whether the same would apply where all we do is provide information, which is under the control of the authorities in this jurisdiction, to assist a prosecution abroad.

A particular reason why I am far less clear is that the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, mentioned the one example where there was a challenge to the decision of the Secretary of State to do precisely this: to provide information abroad to the United States in circumstances where it was said, accurately, “These people may face prosecution which may lead to the death penalty”. My recollection, which I would be grateful if the noble Lord or the Minister could confirm, is that the Home Secretary’s decision was the subject of a legal challenge and—again, please confirm whether I am right or wrong—the High Court rejected that challenge. It held that it was lawful for the Home Secretary to act in that way.