Clause 3 - Arrest under certified Part 1 warrant

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 9th January 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 2:30 pm, 9th January 2003

As the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins) said, the same thinking is behind amendment No. 14 and the amendment No. 118 that my hon. Friend the Member for Torridge and West Devon (Mr. Burnett) and I have tabled. I have some reservations about the manner in which the Conservative amendment would achieve the Home Secretary's intervention through a senior police officer of chief inspector rank or higher. It seems an unnecessarily cumbersome and prescriptive way to achieve that end, but as regards what it seeks, there is not a great deal between us.

Like the hon. Member for Surrey Heath, I have considerable concerns about the phrase ''appropriate person''. I should be interested to hear who the Minister thinks is an appropriate person if it is not a constable. I take the point made by the hon. Member for Surrey Heath that members of Customs and Excise would routinely execute warrants in the course of their duties and they might well fall within the ambit of consideration, but I can see no reason why such people should not be specified in the Bill. The only other people I can think of who would execute warrants are constables in the Transport police, who would probably be included in the term ''constable'' in any event.

With regard to subsection (c), which one of the amendments would delete, I am curious to hear why the Minister thinks that it is necessary to include it in the Bill. We are dealing with a situation that is outwith the ambit of the normal execution of warrants. Clause 2 deals with the information provided on the certificate. The Government have already included in the certificates a fair degree of detail about the identity of the person in respect of whom the warrant is sought. Having an arrest warrant at least in the possession of an arresting officer would be a useful device for avoiding any possible claim of wrongful arrest. I am interested to hear why the Minister feels that such a protection is unnecessary. The provision takes us outwith the ambit of what is normally acceptable in terms of an arrest warrant.

The point about deleting subsection (3) is much the same as the point about deleting the reference to ''an appropriate person''. I cannot think off the top of my head who the appropriate person would be, and I do not understand why the terms of the Bill are left so vague. This part of clause 3 seems to proceed on the basis that the law relating to the execution of arrest warrants is somehow easy, but the Minister should know from the substantial body of case law that that is not so. Not having that protection in the Bill leaves considerable scope for misunderstanding, miscommunication of identification and all the rest of it. Unless there is a good reason for not having such a protection, I see no reason why the amendment should not be accepted.