Clause 11 - Bars to extradition

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 9 January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 4:45, 9 January 2003

This is simply a paving amendment to bring new clause 1 into order with this clause. It seeks to provide a safety net. Outside organisations have rightly drawn attention to the fact that the Bill does not give ultimate protection of the subject, even in a case in which extradition would be considered unjust or oppressive. New clause 1 proposes that a person's extradition to a category 1 territory should be

''barred by reason of the passage of time if it appears that it would be unjust or oppressive or not proportional in all the circumstances to extradite him by reason of the passage of time since he is alleged to have committed the extradition offence or since he is alleged to have become unlawfully at large.''

I will listen with interest to what the Minister has to say about that. I hope that he will concede that there should be some ultimate underpinning of the wide-ranging new powers so that there could be an argument about injustice or oppression because of

the lapse of a huge length of time. That is particularly important because some of the offences mentioned in part 1 are very vague.

If we were discussing terrorism or the most serious sorts of crime and only those crimes were covered by part 1—we believe that part 1 provisions are appropriate only to terrorist offences—the situation might be different. We are, however, discussing a wide range of offences, some of which are not known to English law, and it therefore seems to us that there should be an ultimate safeguard.