Clause 3 - Arrest under certified Part 1 warrant

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 9th January 2003.

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Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 3:30 pm, 9th January 2003

Let me move on to amendment Nos. 129 and 156, which go even further. They require the warrant, when it is shown to the person, to be in a language that he understands. The person would be entitled to legal counsel and, if necessary, to legal aid. He would have access to an interpreter if one were required by virtue of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. Under the amendment, it would be fine to show a person an incomprehensible warrant at the time of arrest, but if it were not available at that time, it would have to be translated word for word before it could be shown to him. That could cause a delay. It could prevent the warrant from being shown to him as soon as possible. Surely it would be in the interests of the individual that the warrant was shown to his legal counsel so that they could examine it, even in the unlikely event of there being some delay in translation.

Let us take an extreme, but not impossible, example. If the details of the person were known in full apart from the language that he spoke, it could take a long time before he could be shown the warrant. The framework decision provides that European arrest warrants sent to the United Kingdom must be in English. Why not show the document to him in English, which will at least help his lawyer if the individual does not understand it, and provide interpretation if necessary? That would allow things to proceed in a sensible way. Furthermore, it is clear from the decisions required of the judge at the initial hearing and the extradition hearing that he would need to have a copy of the warrant before him to take any decision.

The framework mirrors domestic arrangements as closely as possible and ensures that people understand exactly what the warrant contains by virtue of the provision of interpretation and legal advice and aid. There is also a requirement on the judge to check that that situation is acceptable before the matter reaches court.

I think that we have covered the situation. I do not believe that there is any danger along the lines suggested by the hon. Member for Surrey Heath and I do not accept that we are entering a police state. If we are, we are already there and have been there for some time, because we gave constables powers of arrest without the immediate production of a warrant a very long time ago.