Clause 147 - Extradition offences

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:25 am on 16th January 2003.

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Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 9:25 am, 16th January 2003

The arrangements are exactly the same as those laid out in current legislation. We need to think seriously about lowering the threshold. This provision applies if someone has been convicted and imprisoned abroad and escaped with four months or more of their sentence remaining. If someone has been prepared to extradite such a person in order for them to serve that sentence or to seek their extradition to the UK for them to continue to serve their sentence here, that is the level set at present. These arrangements mirror the present arrangements. They neither tighten nor loosen them, and I have not heard an argument that we should do so on conviction cases, or that we should do so as a matter of principle with regard to the 12-month limit.

It would be easier for us to come up with a list of offences under this clause, because it relates to UK law. If members of the Committee believe it would be useful, I will issue a list of offences that would attract a sentence of more than 12 months and less than three years, and distribute it to the Committee. The Opposition need to consider the issue of principle about where we set the threshold. We believe that it is set right at present—it was good enough for the Conservative Government, so it is good enough for us, and we see no reason to loosen it—yet there are some vague arguments that we are supposed to consider.