Clause 40 - Withdrawal of warrant before extradition

Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 14th January 2003.

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Photo of Mr John Burnett Mr John Burnett Liberal Democrat, Torridge and West Devon 10:30 am, 14th January 2003

I beg to move amendment No. 143, in

clause 40, page 19, line 15, at end add

'as soon as is practicable'.

Photo of Edward O'Hara Edward O'Hara Labour, Knowsley South

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment No. 144, in

clause 41, page 19, line 30, at end add

'as soon as is practicable'.

Amendment No. 145, in

clause 42, page 20, line 10, at end add

'as soon as is practicable'.

Photo of Mr John Burnett Mr John Burnett Liberal Democrat, Torridge and West Devon

These are straightforward amendments and I shall not detain the Committee in speaking to them. The order for discharge is empty until the person has been informed of it. The Bill should specify that the judge should inform the person as soon as practicable, as I hope the Minister will agree. The amendment is not just cosmetic; it has some force. It is important that individuals are told as soon as possible if there has been a withdrawal. The onus is on the judge and it is good practice.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

As the Committee knows, the Bill was published in draft in July. Several of those who commented on it, including the Home Affairs Committee, were concerned about the provisions for discharge of fugitives, which is the point that the amendments address. The Home Affairs Committee was concerned about the discharge of fugitives in cases in which requests were withdrawn or the courts found in the fugitive's favour. We redrafted the relevant parts of the Bill as a result of the comments that we received on the draft Bill to make it clear that we expect this to happen immediately. That should surely be so if the case is found in favour of the fugitive or if it is withdrawn. There is no reason why this should not happen at once. The hon. Gentleman says that the amendments are substantive and that they make a difference, but I ask him to accept that they would not.

Indeed, the amendments could be erroneously interpreted as giving the judge some leeway in deciding the speed at which he should discharge the fugitive. I ask the hon. Gentleman to consider that and to withdraw the amendment.

Photo of Mr John Burnett Mr John Burnett Liberal Democrat, Torridge and West Devon 10:45 am, 14th January 2003

I cannot see how the Minister arrives at his conclusion that the innocent words of the amendments could give the judge any leeway in the matter. I do not understand his logic. The amendments are fairly innocuous. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 40 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 41 to 52 ordered to stand part of the Bill.