Clause 17 - Speciality

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:25 am ar 14 Ionawr 2003.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath 9:25, 14 Ionawr 2003

I can be brief in response. I accept the Minister's point that the wording suggested to us and to the Liberal Democrats by the Law Society of England and Wales does not achieve exactly what they and we intended.

The Minister said that he could not understand the nature of the difficulties. I tried to give an example which, as I said, was not about speciality but which involved the problems that can occur when a requesting country originally drops proceedings and then starts again. The heart of what we and the Law Society are saying is that, given the problems that specialist solicitors experience with requesting states, if fresh proceedings are started, there should be an opportunity for the person who may be extradited to be made fully aware of those proceedings.

There is another case that Robert Roscoe has drawn to our attention, that of Charles Edward Johnstone. I will not bore the Committee with the details, but I ask the Minister and those who advise him to consider whether, given the difficulties that arose in that case and in the Mahu case, the Government might find some wording to amend the Bill. The amended wording might be different from that which we have proposed, but it should take account of the need for someone who may be extradited to be kept properly informed, so that those who represent him and advise him can also be properly informed of the nature of any fresh proceedings. That is all that we seek to achieve.

I do not believe that that undermines the whole concept of extradition. We do not want to drive a coach and horses through the existing arrangements for speciality. I hope that the Minister will at least consider amending the Bill but, having probed the matter, I shall not pursue the amendments.