Clause 63 - Extradition offences: person not sentenced for offence

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:15 am ar 14 Ionawr 2003.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of John Maples John Maples Ceidwadwyr, Stratford-on-Avon 11:15, 14 Ionawr 2003

I support amendment No. 150, but I hope also to stray slightly to ask the Minister two brief questions. About nine minutes are left before the end of the sitting.

The Select Committee recommended that we should return to the three-year limit, so will the Minister answer the points of the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland and say why he rejects the Select Committee's advice? Will he tell us what offences will fall into the gap and will now be included as a result of reducing the barrier from three years to 12 months?

My second question relates to the Select Committee's central recommendation that in a case without dual criminality, the Home Secretary should have the final decision. We may return to debate the point on clause 193, where the Home Secretary's discretion is severely circumscribed. I understand why the Government want to circumscribe, because the Home Secretary is one avenue of appeal. However, they have reduced from two to one the number of occasions on which the Home Secretary has to make a decision that may be challenged. There is an argument for saying that if the judge has certified that there is no dual criminality, the Secretary of State should have a final say in those narrow circumstances. Does the Minister not agree?

My third question relates to one of my central objections to the framework document, which is that the definition of the offences is so vague. A British

parliamentary draftsman would not include such phrases, and I want to pick on one, which is ''computer-related crime''. That is what we are allowing part 1 to provide for, but I want to know what ''computer-related crime'' means. Does it mean a teenager nicking a CD from someone else's computer or someone conducting a fraud via the internet? The range is vast, which reinforces the point about dual criminality and a subsequent decision. If the Government will not give way on dual criminality because of the framework decision, will it at least introduce the Home Secretary's final discretion in cases in which dual criminality has not been established so that he could rule that it would not be in the interests of justice or our national concerns? When we debate clause 193, I will move an amendment that would allow the Home Secretary to show much wider discretion, but I would be grateful if the Minister could answer the two additional points now.