Clause 3 - Arrest under certified Part 1 warrant

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 9th January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 3:15 pm, 9th January 2003

Leolin Price QC's opinion reads:

''When [which means at the time when and not at some subsequent time] a requested person is arrested, the executing competent judicial authority shall, in accordance with its national law, inform that person of the European arrest warrant and of its contents''.

Leolin Price has rightly underlined ''and of its contents''. That is the point we are dealing with. The Government's legislation specifically does not provide for that and therefore allows the arrested person not to be shown a warrant.

As Leolin Price points out, a European arrest warrant extends to no fewer than six A4 pages, including 11 boxes, one of which occupies an entire page. He rightly asks:

''How is an arrested person to be informed of all that material [and 'the contents' means all the contents] if neither the warrant nor a copy is in the arresting person's possession at the time of the arrest?''

Proper civil liberties in this country require that the arresting person must have in his possession either the warrant itself or a copy. We are not being unrealistic and saying that it must always be the original warrant, but it should be a minimum requirement that the arrested person should be shown a copy of the warrant at the time of the arrest.

What reason would there be for the arresting officer not to have a copy of the warrant? It could be pure incompetence only if it were not possible to provide a copy of the warrant. It seems to me the minimum requirement. As Leolin Price puts it, the only satisfactory and fair rule is that there should be a copy of the warrant and the person who is to be subject to it should be

''allowed time to read it and to listen to the arresting officer's explanation of its contents''.

Leolin Price then talks about the question of appropriate persons, with which we dealt under the previous group of amendments. I cannot see any good reason why it should not be a minimum requirement that a copy of the warrant should be available to the arrested person.