Clause 201 - Commencement

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 21 January 2003.

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Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 3:00, 21 January 2003

Unreasonable lapses of time can be prayed in aid against extradition requests. I should have thought that the point that most concerns Liberty, which the hon. Gentleman has raised on its behalf, would have to be dealt with in that context. We have had lengthy discussions in Committee about how long certain extradition cases can be protracted by determined individuals with legal resources. It escapes me to understand how we could put something in the Bill that defined an inappropriate degree of retrospectivity but that did not allow people to fall through the net or place an obligation on us to keep both pieces of legislation running in tandem for many years.

The hon. Gentleman makes a genuine point about people seeking many years after the event to use a piece of legislation that was not in place at the time, and about the ability to extradite people years after a crime was committed. Such a person would be able to raise that point with a district judge in respect of part 1. Other ways that are appropriate in part 2 would be covered by the time bar for an unreasonable passage of time.