Clause 83 - Case where person has not been convicted

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 14th 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) 3:15 pm, 14th January 2003

I share the concerns of the hon. Member for Bolton, North—[Interruption.] I apologise, I should have said Doncaster, North. It is all England to me. I hope that my wife, who has roots in Lancashire, does not get to hear about that exchange.

I share the concerns of the hon. Gentleman, wherever he comes from, about the use of summaries. As I listened to him, I was taken back to my time as a prosecutor. We obtained police précis reports in the first instance in deciding whether to prosecute. Presuming that it had been decided to take proceedings, the next stage was to order full statements if there was to be a trial. Once we had the full statements, we often wondered who had written the précis report and what connection there was between it and the full statements. The hon. Gentleman makes a good point.

I am worried about what the Minister said about discretion. Even in the Bill as drafted—I appreciate that the removal of subsection (3) would be significant—the judge is not given a great deal of discretion. Regardless of whether amendment No. 160 is accepted, amendment No. 161, tabled by the hon. Member for Surrey Heath, would change ''must'' to ''may'', with the rider:

''where the statement is corroborated with independent evidence''.

That would provide the appropriate discretion. I hope that when he considers the matter before Report stage he will contemplate that provision.