HC Deb 14 June 1982 vol 25 c607
28. Sir John Biggs-Davison

asked the Attorney-General if he will make a statement about the use to date of the Criminal Jurisdiction Act.

The Attorney-General

Since the commencement of the Criminal Jurisdiction Act 1975 consent has been given to the prosecution in Northern Ireland of nine persons under the provisions of the legislation. Five of these persons have been tried, of whom four have been convicted of extra-territorial offences and one has been convicted of an offence which is not an extra-territorial offence. Four persons in respect of whom consent to prosecute has been given have not yet been tried.

Wherever there has been sufficient evidence to warrant proceedings I have given my consent to prosecution. The Act has been a useful addition to the criminal law.

Sir John Biggs-Davison

Does the Attorney-General agree that that is second best? Is not the refusal of extradition in cases of alleged terrorism now the subject of concern in the Supreme Court of the Republic? However the Act works, will Her Majesty's Government continue to inform the Irish Government that the Irish dimension in which we are interested is the observance of international legal obligations by the Dublin Government?

The Attorney-General

I think that my hon. Friend is referring to the Southern Irish legislation—the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act, which is a different Act. It gives the Republic the power to prosecute those cases referred to it by the Chief Constable of Ulster. In the past few months nine persons have been referred, six have been convicted and three acquitted. Others are pending. That Act has been a useful additional weapon in dealing with serious crime, but, as my hon. Friend will know, the Government's view has always been that extradition would be more effective.

Mr. Stanbrook

Has my right hon. and learned Friend made any progress in his talks with the Attorney-General of the Republic?

The Attorney-General

I had very useful discussions with the previous Attorney-General of the Republic and I am hoping that I shall be able to reach the same degree of happy discussion with his successor.

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