Law Review: Surge in Britons exported for trial

Surge in Britons exported for trial

The number of people in Britain seized under the controversial “no-evidence-needed” European Arrest Warrant rose by more than 50 per cent last year, figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph show.

The Telegraph reports: “In total 1,032 people – almost three a day – were detained and extradited by British police on the orders of European prosecutors in the 12 months to April, up from 683 in 2008-09. The Home Office expects a further 70 per cent rise, to 1,700 cases, next year. The increase will fuel growing political concern about the “unfair” and “disproportionate” nature of the warrants, which British courts have little power to challenge……

They can spend long periods in jail – here and abroad – for crimes which might not even have been prosecuted in Britain. They can also be seized for offences which are not crimes in Britain.Foreign prosecutors do not have to present evidence to the British courts, just demand the person be “surrendered”……

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.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government is committed to reviewing the UK’s extradition arrangements.”

The Telegraph notes: “Britain has the same rights to request no-evidence extraditions from other EU countries, but uses the power sparingly. The latest figures show that 98 people were brought to the UK on European Arrest Warrants in 12 months, a fall of 6 per cent on the year before.” It would seem, on the bare facts above, that while we are keen to export our people, we are less than keen on importing offenders – perhaps, being cynical, this is just too much of an effort and costs too much?

I am sure that the European Arrest warrant is valuable and ‘warranted’ in the more serious crimes – but driving without insurance, driving off without paying at a petrol station?  I’m not so sure in the case of minor fines which could, surely, be dealt with by fine and paid by credit card with agreement of the person charged?

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