Clause 63 - Extradition offences: person not sentenced for offence

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:00 am ar 14 Ionawr 2003.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 11:00, 14 Ionawr 2003

The amendment would replace the term of 12 months or greater in subsection (2)(c), with a term of three years, which is the provision specified in the European arrest warrant framework decision. The Conservative amendments seek to amend

subsequent parts of the clause in a similar way, and no doubt the hon. Member for Surrey Heath will have something to say about them.

I will be interested to hear from the Minister why the Government believed it to be necessary to ''gold-plate'' the European legislation in this way. In part 1, there is a fairly coercive system for which there must be certain checks and balances. One of the most important checks—or possibly a balance, I am never quite sure—must be the seriousness of the offence that is involved. There should be no opportunity for abuse of extradition requests for offences that are trivial or administrative in nature. The other balance is that of dual criminality, which acts as an important safeguard, but that balance does not exist for this subsection. In such circumstances, it must surely be appropriate that a higher standard or more serious offence must be anticipated. The reduction to 12 months will bring a wide panoply of offences under the ambit of part 1 and subsection (2). There would have been good reason for the framework directive to provide for three years, so there must be an even better reason to depart from that.

Amendment No. 150 does not affect subsequent clauses, in which the 12-month sentence limit would still be open when dual criminality were established, although if the Conservative amendments were accepted, the position would be different. My amendment relates only to subsection (2), and on that basis, I will be interested to hear the Minister's reasoning.