Clause 2 - Part 1 warrant and certificate

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 9th January 2003.

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Photo of John Maples John Maples Conservative, Stratford-on-Avon 10:45 am, 9th January 2003

The framework document is clear about this. Article 1 states:

''for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution''.

However, the Bill talks of someone being accused of something, which is a much looser term. I cannot understand why the Minister resisted the insertion of ''judicial''. The Government do not get everything right. It may be surprising, but Governments make mistakes. Some of our amendments would wreck the proposed legislation and I can understand him resisting those. However, I cannot understand why the Government resist a technical amendment that would improve the Bill. I have the feeling that that will be the Minister's problem with the House of Lords. Will he return to the House of Commons in this issue?

I do not know whether my hon. Friend's wording achieves his objective, but our objective is to ensure that the procedure can be used only where someone will be prosecuted and charged with an offence, whatever the correct term would be. Being accused is much vaguer than being charged. I would be happy to use the words in the framework document, which are

''for the purpose of conducting a criminal prosecution''.

Presumably both that phrase and the judicial authority point, which are both in article 1 of the framework decision, were pored over by Government lawyers, and presumably the Government claim some credit for having got those things in to tighten things up. Why then loosen them up in our legislation? I cannot understand why we insist on what is essentially a treaty commitment being fairly precise, yet have a vague piece of legislation that is capable of wider interpretation. The Government should consider the amendment seriously. If the Minister does not think that the wording works, I would be happy for him to return with something on Report or in the House of Lords that achieves the objective. If every genuine attempt to improve the Bill is to be rejected because the Government did not think of it, we will end up with a bad Bill and a raft of House of Lords amendments that the Minister will have to deal with later.