HC Deb 29 July 1964 vol 699 cc345-7W
Mr. Dudley Smith

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he proposes to take to enable Irish criminal warrants to be executed in this country, having regard to the decision of the House of Lords in the case of Regina versus the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, ex parte Hammond.

Mr. Brooke

In the case ofR. v. the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police ex parte Hammond, the House of Lords recently decided, on an appeal from the Divisional Court, that a warrant issued in the Irish Republic and sent to this country for execution had not been properly endorsed in the Republic in accordance with section 27(3) of the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851, which requires that before being despatched the warrant should be endorsed by a senior officer of the Royal Irish Constabulary. The Royal Irish Constabulary ceased to exist in 1922, and shortly afterwards was replaced in the Irish Free State by the Garda Siochana. An Order in Council (No. 405 of 1923), made under section 6 of the Irish Free State (Consequential Provisions) Act, 1922, was designed to secure that the enactments relating to the backing and execution of Irish warrants should continue to operate in this country after the establishment of the Irish Free State, but there was no specific adaptation of the reference in section 27(3) of the 1851 Act to the officers of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and it had not previously been supposed that the adaptation was necessary. In view of this House of Lords decision, a further Order in Council was made on 27th July under the 1922 Act, to deal with this point. The order will be laid on 31st July and will come into operation on 1st August.

The scope of the Order in Council is confined to remedying the particular and immediate difficulty arising from the decision in the Hammond case. That case, however, raises wider questions about the present arrangements, and the Government consider that the proper course is to enact new legislation as soon as may be, placing them on a more satisfactory and up-to-date basis. A Bill is accordingly being prepared, which it is hoped will be ready for introduction early in the new Parliament.