HC Deb 01 July 1971 vol 820 cc180-2W
68 and 69. Miss Devlin

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether Patrick Francis Keane's extradition from England was on the basis of warrants issued in the Republic of Ireland; on what dates these warrants became available to the British police; and what charges they urged against him;

(2) during what period of time Patrick Francis Keane was detained in Her-Majesty's Prisons in this country; whether he was charged with any criminal offence allegedly committed in this country; and whether he was committed or tried on any criminal charge allegedly committed in this country;

(3) on what date his Department received from Patrick Francis Keane letters describing the offences that were alleged against him in another jurisdiction, and asking for certain undertakings and making certain offers;

(4) what acknowledgment of his letters was sent to Patrick Francis Keane; what substantive replies; and on what dates;

(5) whether correspondence between Patrick Francis Keane and his Department was made available to the Government of the Republic of Ireland, their agents or representatives;

(6) to what uses correspondence between Patrick Francis Keane and his Department have been put, and in particular, whether the correspondence or parts of it have been released by his Department to any persons;

(7) whether he is satisfied that the legislation governing extradition provides safeguards against authorities in another country seeking backing in Great Britain for warrants alleging criminal offences when political factors are present;, whether, in particular, he is satisfied that in the instance of Patrick Francis Keane this was not the case; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Carlisle

Patrick Francis Keane was returned to the Irish Republic on 2nd March, 1971, on an order of a magistrates' court under Section 2(1) of the Backing of Warrants (Republic of Ireland) Act, 1965, following endorsement by a justice of the peace of warrants of arrest issued in the Republic charging Keane with murder of a police officer in the execution of his duty and with armed robbery. The warrants were received by the police here on 15th May, 1970, Keane having been previously arrested here on a provisional warrant issued on 13th May, 1970. Keane applied for a writ ofhabeas corpus on the ground that the magistrates had failed to inquire into the merits of the charges and that there were substantial grounds for believing that if returned, he would be prosecuted or detained for another offence, being an offence of a political character. His application was rejected on 21st October, 1970, by the Divisional Court, whose decision was upheld by the House of Lords on 2nd March, 1971. Keane was detained in Brixton Prison from 14th May, 1970, to 2nd March, 1971. He was not charged with any criminal offence allegedly committed in this country.

A petition was received from Keane on 3rd June, 1970, asking for political asylum, or for an assurance from the Irish Attorney General that he would not be prosecuted for other offences, being offences of a political character. A reply was sent, which was conveyed orally to him by the Governor on 20th June, to the effect that he should make these points during the court proceedings in this country. No use has been made of this correspondence, and it has not been released to any person other than to the hon. Member herself.

My right hon. Friend has no reason to think that the safeguards in the 1965 Act are inadequate. It was for the courts to decide whether the accused person should be handed over to the Irish authorities, and it is not for me to comment on judicial decisions. The Act makes no provision for action or intervention on my right hon. Friend's part.

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