Clause 73 - Person arrested under a provisional warrant

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 14 January 2003.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 3:00, 14 January 2003

I have a brief point to make, and I should be grateful if the Minister would take it away and consider it. It might equally be said to apply to clause 71. Subsection (3) states:

''The person must be brought as soon as practicable before the appropriate judge.''

Subsection (4)(a) provides that that need not apply if

''the person is granted bail by a constable following his arrest''.

Subsection (11) says:

''Subsection (4)(a) does not apply to Scotland.''

That is perfectly proper, as in Scotland the police do not grant bail. I do not take issue with that. However, it seems that the police having the power to grant bail is a useful provision that gives a degree of flexibility.

Perhaps between now and Report the Minister and those advising him could give some consideration to the question of a parallel provision being put in for Scotland. I do not want to see terminology starting to be confused and constables in Scotland getting the power to grant bail, but under Scots criminal procedure there is a provision whereby police officers can arrest people on an undertaking to appear at a court at a later date. That is very close to what I understand police bail in England to be. In fact in Scotland it is often referred to in shorthand as police bail, but bail is something quite distinct and different.

Without that flexibility there can sometimes be logistical difficulties in taking people from, for example, the remoter parts of my constituency to the sheriff at Lothian borders sitting in Edinburgh. As soon as practicable can sometimes be a couple of days. There is good flexibility in the police being allowed to give bail. If some mechanism could be found to allow that to be extended north of the border, it would have a lot to commend it.