HC Deb 01 July 1898 vol 60 cc803-5
MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the extradition case of Ludwig Grunbaum, who on the 22nd February last was arrested in London charged with a crime alleged to have been committed in Germany; was remanded in custody from week to week, pending the arrival of papers from Germany, until the 21st April, and was then discharged; was re-arrested on the same charge on the 27th April, and after another week's imprisonment was again discharged on the 4th May; whether he has been advised that Article 12 of the Extradition Treaty with Germany contemplates, or that section 8 of the Extradition Act, 1870, authorises the issue of a second warrant for the arrest of an alleged fugitive criminal after he has been apprehended under a former warrant in respect of the same charge, and discharged by a magistrate; whether the warrants for the arrest of Ludwig Grunbaum were issued under orders from the Secretary of State or without such orders; in the latter case, who issued the warrants and what was the nature of the evidence upon which such warrants respectively were issued; was the information laid by a police officer or by the Consul or other accredited agent of the German Government; upon the occasion of the issue of each warrant, did the Secretary of State forthwith receive a report of the fact of such issue, together with the evidence or certified copies thereof; whether he is aware that there have been many cases of unreasonable delay on the part of foreign Governments in forwarding the papers necessary for the extradition of alleged fugitive criminals; and, in particular, that a Russian subject was detained in Holloway gaol for 17 weeks, was then extradited, and on his arrival in Russia was liberated without trial; and that a French subject was kept in custody in this country for nearly three months pending the arrival of documents, and was discharged in November last; and whether he will give directions that in future cases of persons arrested with a view to extradition shall be watched, and when there is long and unreasonable delay, will he exercise the discretion vested in him by section 8 of the Extradition Act, 1870, to order the warrant of arrest to be cancelled, and the prisoner discharged?


I am fully aware of this case. The original warrant was issued in November last on an information laid by the Chancellor of the German Consulate before the Chief Magistrate, who reported the matter to me and forwarded copy of the information. No time was lost on the man being arrested in informing the German Government, and at the beginning of April they were reminded that the formal application and evidence had not been received. The second warrant was issued on an order from me under section 7 of the Act, the evidence finally submitted by the German Government being sufficient to justify this, though not found sufficient to warrant the actual committal for extradition. It is naturally a matter of regret, in view of the result, that the accused should have been detained so long; but I am advised there has been no infringement of the Act or Treaty. I know nothing of the Russian case referred to; but in the French case to which I understand the honourable Member to allude, although there was considerable delay, due no doubt to the complexity of the case, in producing the evidence, it was ultimately forthcoming and the fugitive surrendered. I may add that all these cases are carefully watched both at the Home Office and the police court.