Clause 4 - Person arrested under Part 1 warrant

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:45 pm ar 9 Ionawr 2003.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 3:45, 9 Ionawr 2003

We have simplified the process and yet the Opposition want to elevate the matter, right from the start, to the High Court. They would even have a High Court judge deciding whether the person brought before them was the right one. It gets even more absurd. Currently about 30 per cent. of fugitives consent to their extradition. The Opposition amendments want to make it certain that they can do that only in front of a High Court judge, taking up High Court time even when there is no dispute.

The Bill makes it clear what the judge must consider before he consents to extradition. If the request falls foul of any of the bars to extradition, it must be refused. If the judge decides that there is a risk that the person's human rights could be breached, extradition must be refused. The criteria to be considered are clear and would be the same whether a High Court judge or district judge were considering them.

Terrorist crimes are obviously serious matters but district judges at Bow street magistrates court have dealt with them for a long time. I am confident that they will be able to continue to do so. Their decisions can be challenged in the High Court and, with permission, in the House of Lords.

As I said, there are flaws in the current extradition system but I do not believe that the seniority of the judges that deal with them is as big an issue or that there is any justification for the amendments. I ask the Committee to reject them.