Clause 158 - Warrants: special procedure material and excluded material

Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 16th January 2003.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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

Committee sittings are useful to tease out the Government's underlying thought processes and to place certain matters on the record. The clause contains powers to allow seizure of excluded material and, I presume, powers to enter premises without consent. I draw the Committee's attention to subsection (6), which is an important provision. It states:

''Material falls within this subsection if it would be likely to be admissible evidence at a trial in the relevant part of the United Kingdom for the offence specified in the application for the warrant''.

I presume the Minister will confirm that in this case dual criminality still applies. We are talking about offences in this country rather than one of the 32 offences that we have criticised in the past because of their nebulous and uncertain nature. We talked about swindling, racism, xenophobia and so forth. I would like to know whether dual criminality is being preserved in subsection (6).

I turn to subsection (8), which concerns the requirement. I should like to know a little more from the Minister about paragraph (c), which specifies that

''the material contains information which is subject to a restriction on disclosure or an obligation of secrecy contained in an enactment''.

I would also like confirmation on the record that the material that might be sought will not breach the principle of legal privilege, so documents and notes kept by lawyers on behalf of an individual will not and cannot be sought by this enactment.

Photo of Michael Wills Michael Wills Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Criminal Justice System IT)

As always, the hon. Gentleman raises some important points. I hope to reassure him on all of them. I remind him that much of the detail will be in the code of practice, which will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. There will be an opportunity to scrutinise the provision in detail. I agree that it repays such scrutiny.

The hon. Gentleman asked whether dual criminality would apply. I am not sure whether he was asking if it would apply sometimes or whether the principle was being asserted in the clause. The answer to both questions is no. There is no principle of dual criminality. There are circumstances in which it might apply and others in which it might not apply. I hope that is of some reassurance to him.

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

In clause 158(6), could

''the offence specified in the application for the warrant''

be one of the 32 offences? It seems likely. Furthermore, the rules on admissibility are presumably the UK rules. Is that right?

Photo of Michael Wills Michael Wills Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Criminal Justice System IT)

The hon. Gentleman seems to have arrived at the answer without much assistance from

me. It depends on the offence for which extradition is being sought. If it is an offence for which dual criminality applies, dual criminality will apply, but if not, it will not. So if it is one of the 32 offences, it will fall into that category. I hope that that answers his question but, as I said, I think that he already got there himself.

I have also been asked about subsection (8), and I hope that I can give some reassurance by saying that it is based on provisions in paragraph 12 of schedule 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 for the issue of a similar warrant. We are essentially clarifying the position on extradition after the Rottman case. There are no huge advances or changes of principle involved; it is a clarifying measure that is rooted in PACE and requested and supported by the police.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 158 ordered to stand part of the Bill.