August 29, 2010 5 Comments
I’ve been meaning to write a comprehensive post on the powers over matters of justice that we have handed over to the EU, including the European Arrest Warrant. Well, I say comprehensive, but I’m not a lawyer. I was just going to borrow extensively from excellent law blogger ObiterJ.
For a decent insight, read his posts:
- The European Arrest Warrant – an arrested development.
- The ever expanding influence of the EU in criminal matters
- The ever expanding influence of the EU in criminal matters – No. 2
- The ever expanding influence of the EU in criminal matters – No. 3
- The evidence of the last Labour government selling the British people out is as comprehensive as it is frightening and infuriating.
- So this immediately caught my attention:
Anger at Britain’s “gold-plating” of the controversial European Arrest Warrant is growing after it emerged that other EU countries have secured significant safeguards for their citizens that are not available to British nationals.
Although the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was intended to operate in the same way in all 27 EU states, The Sunday Telegraph has established that many other European countries have given themselves “opt-outs” or conditions to protect their citizens.
It comes after this newspaper first highlighted concerns last week over the way that the warrant system was being used in Britain.
Holland will not extradite Dutch nationals under the EAW unless the accusing state agrees that they can serve any prison sentence in a Dutch jail. The Belgians have opt-outs so that the warrant does not cover abortion.
Abortion and “abetting abortion” are crimes in some EU states, including Malta, Ireland and Poland – Europe’s most active issuer of EAWs.
Birth control campaigners fear they could be targeted by antiabortionists under the EAW, even simply for running a British-based advice website accessible from abroad.
France appears reluctant to extradite its own nationals under the EAW and has stated in the past that they will not be extradited.
Europe’s largest country, Germany, has imposed a “proportionality rule” stating that only those accused of serious crimes can be seized under a warrant. The definition of serious is not given, but it would exclude large numbers of the trivial charges dealt with by the British extradition courts.
One Kent motorist, Patrick Reece-Edwards, spent weeks in a British jail awaiting extradition to Poland on a charge of possessing a forged motor insurance certificate. When he was finally extradited, the matter was resolved by the payment of a civil penalty with no criminal record.
So many people – mostly Poles – are extradited from Britain to Poland on minor charges that special fortnightly military flights are operated for them from a London airfield. The hundreds of trivial requests are also a serious drain on police, prison and court resources.
Britain has no such opt-outs, and campaigners say that British judges are too cautious in applying the overriding requirements of the Human Rights Act.
Karen Todner, one of Britain’s leading extradition lawyers, said: “It is typical of us not to have given ourselves proper protection.
“British judges apply the EAW treaty to the letter and these massive injustices come about because the Government hasn’t thought this through.
“There are a lot of quite simple things we could do now to mitigate the harm done to British citizens, which could be done quite quickly through a simple administrative decision.”
British citizens sent abroad under the EAW are also at a serious disadvantage. Since foreigners are regarded as flight risks, bail is often refused and pretrial detention, even for minor crimes, can last for years.
I really don’t know where to begin.
What on Earth could those responsible for this situation have been thinking? Were they negligent, incompetent, acting out of complete disregard for people or what?
The ConDems say they’re looking at our extradition arrangements, but I very much doubt they have the will or the ability to right this massive and self-evident wrong that was yet another fantastic bequest from Labour. Perhaps more to the point, the same civil servants who lovingly gold-plated the whole thing in the first place are now, presumably, in charge of reviewing the arrangements.
Blunkett, who first signed off the EAW is unruffled about the perverse outcomes:
Mr Blunkett said: “I was right, as Home Secretary in the post-9/11 era, to agree to the European Arrest Warrant, but I was insufficiently sensitive to how it might be used.”.
This is just another reason why I just loathe Labour, and every single one of their supporters, for what they have done to the country I was born in.
I’ve already written to my MP about this, and as soon as Parliament is back in session, I’ll be hounding him for a response.
Do the same, make some fucking noise.
UPDATE: I wonder why I fucking bother, when DK comes along to remind us why he’s a leading libertarian blogger & I’m a useless cunt with copy & paste buttons.