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

Cheeky is good—I will accept cheeky. The hon. Gentleman should not be so touchy—I was not speaking to him at the time.

The definitions mirror those in part 1 and are consistent with them. If Opposition Members have problems with those thresholds, I hope that they will accept the principle that we should be able to make requests regarding conduct that occurs either on our territory or in areas over which the UK takes extra-territorial jurisdiction. That principle has already operated for some considerable time.

I have not come to the Committee armed with a list of offences. I am sure that the hon. Member for Surrey Heath, with his background in legal practice, knows

what offences would fall above the one-year threshold and below the three-year threshold. I said during the previous debate that crimes that attract a prison sentence of more than 12 months are serious matters. We do not lock people away for a period in excess of 12 months, or threaten to do so, for trivial matters. We—and current extradition legislation—set the threshold by saying that offences of a minor nature make extradition procedures inappropriate. That guiding principle justifies not raising the 12-month threshold, and I see no reason to abandon it. If we did, the same provisions would apply to dual criminality cases and those falling within the generic list where the dual criminality test does not apply.