LibLink: Tim Farron: European Arrest Warrant is a vital weapon in the fight against crime

Farron the Ubiquitous (he is, but that’s not a complaint) has been writing for the Huffington Post again, this time, as befits the man in charge of the European Election campaign, on the European Arrest Warrant.

First, he reminds us of the high profile cases where the warrant has brought British criminals back to justice.

Hussain Osman fled to Italy after the failed 21 July 2005 London bombings, during which he placed an explosive at Shepherd’s Bush tube station. Just one week later, he was tracked down and arrested by Italian police on a euro-warrant issued by a British court before being extradited and sent back to face trial in the UK. Meanwhile schoolteacher Jeremy Forrestgrabbed the headlines last year when he ran off to France with a 15-year-old pupil. After eight days on the run, he was spotted in Bordeaux by a bar owner who alerted the police back in the UK. In a joint operation between Sussex and local French police, Forrest was arrested and sent back to the UK where he was subsequently convicted for child abduction. Then in August 2013, fugitive drug-trafficker Mark Lilley was arrested in a joint raid by 40 armed Spanish and British police. The drugs baron, who dealt in heroin and cocaine, is now facing a 23-year jail term.

And then he reminds us how the Liberal Democrats stopped the Tories from withdrawing from many conventions which keep us all safer, concluding that won’t let the Tories put their euroscepticism ahead of the safety of the British people.

You can read the whole post here.

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  • Under English Law, people are innocent until proven guilty. Under the EU Arrest Warrant Britain must transfer its own citizens to foreign jurisdictions, which assume guilt until proven innocent. Under the EU Arrest Warrant, British people can be thrown in filthy foreign jails on flimsy evidence without any time limit until a foreign court eventually gets around to hearing the case. Under the EU Arrest Warrant, the British right of Habeas Corpus that no person can be detained without strong evidence of criminal activity and to trial by jury, (which have existed since the Magna Carta), no longer apply. The EU Arrest Warrant should therefore NEVER apply in Great Britain.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 15th Jan '14 - 7:17pm

    @ Theresa-1,

    Filthy foreign jails? Which countries are you referring to?

    And are you suggesting that we should withdraw from the EU Arrest Warrant system altogether, because it can’t be a one-way only system?

  • @Mark Valladares
    The Andrew Symeou case ? Ring any bells?
    Theresa-1 is absolutely on the nail.

  • No EU member state operates a “guilty until proven innocent” system. That would be a clear violation of the (non-EU) European Charter of Human Rights and also the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.

  • I’m all in favour of EU cooperation including the EU arrest warrant but I wish Farron (and Sarah Ludford and others) would stop using the Jeremy Forrest case as an example. That’s one instance where the EU arrest warrant did the opposite of serving justice.

  • Clearly the EAW system can be made to work better but on balance it’s a big plus and we should be proud to have stopped Theresa May from pulling us out if it.

  • It is clear that the EAW is a very useful tool for the forces of law and order, making their task more straightforward than it was previously. However, it is also clear that on a significant number of occasions, it can lead to a situation that we, as liberals, should be fighting against. The cases of Andrew Symeou and Gary Mann are two easy examples of where the system goes wrong.

    Being wrongly held pending trial is bad enough if your family and friends have to travel a hundred miles of so across the UK to see you, being in a foreign jail over a thousand miles away, where you don’t understand the language and so are unaware of dangers even at the most elementary level, where your family can’t visit and you can be held for an enormous amount of time is quite another.

    We should be putting forward a balanced approach to this; acknowledging its advantages while castigating the Conservatives, but also pointing out its failures and emphasising what we are proposing to do (and even more importantly what we have already done) to improve it further, especially in countries which have a less well developed sense of liberalism and the rights of the accused.

  • Michael Parsons 16th Jan '14 - 11:56am

    Bettr if EU arrest warrants led to trial in our home country, especially as offences overseas may be regarded differently to our process here. Even more urgent is the need to remedy the one-sided extradition arrangements withg USA, I suggest.

  • @Mark Valladares “Filthy foreign jails? Which countries are you referring to?
    “Filthy” is just a figure of speech. Can you absolutely guarantee that ALL foreign (e.g. EU) jails are maintained to AT THE VERY LEAST to the same high standards as British jails?
    “And are you suggesting that we should withdraw from the EU Arrest Warrant system altogether?”
    Yes – because English people should be detained, tried and sentenced according to English Common Law. Our ancestors fought hard for those protections and they should not be given up lightly.

  • Alex Macfie 21st Jan '14 - 1:21pm

    Sarah Ludford MEP, in her latest bulletin, writes that her committee report on EAW reform has passed ther Civil Liberties & Justice committee. This apparently includes “the introduction of a human rights clause to prevent miscarriages of justice and a proportionality test to prevent it being used for petty crimes”. These are both necessary but not sufficient reforms, and hopefully (I’ve not read the report) there is also more; other important reforms include automatic invalidation of warrants that any court refuses to execute, and extradition only happening when a case is trial-ready.

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