HC Deb 21 April 1999 vol 329 cc594-5W
Mr. Maclean

To ask the Attorney-General for what reason a representative of the Crown Prosecution Service was in Madrid prior to the issue of a final warrant for the arrest of Senator Pinochet; if he will list that official's meetings in Madrid; and if he will make a statement. [81225]

The Solicitor-General

Warrants for the arrest of Senator Pinochet have been issued by the Bow Street Magistrates' Court on 16 October 1998 (the first arrest warrant), 22 October 1998 (the second arrest warrant) and on 15 April 1999 (the third arrest warrant).

A lawyer from the Crown Prosecution Service, accompanied by counsel instructed by the CPS on behalf of the Kingdom of Spain, has visited Madrid in connection with the proceedings against Senator Pinochet on three occasions. The first occasion was on 22 and 23 October 1998. The second occasion was on 22 and 23 December 1998. And the third occasion was on 6 and 7 April 1999.

Before, during and after visiting Madrid there has been telephone contact between the CPS and counsel and Judge Baltasar Garzon Real.

During visits to Madrid the CPS lawyer and counsel have attended meetings with Judge Baltasar Garzon Real and also meetings chaired by Judge Baltasar Garzon Real at which representatives of the Spanish interested parties have been present. These have included Dr. Juan Garces, Enrique de Santiago, Carlos Slepoy and Virginia Dias. Additionally, secretaries, assistants and interpreters have been present at meetings.

During the first visit the CPS lawyer and counsel met the acting British Ambassador prior to meeting the Spanish authorities.

The CPS lawyer and counsel have attended in Madrid to receive instructions from Judge Baltasar Garzon Real, to inspect documentation and to advise on the extradition proceedings.

Throughout the extradition proceedings the Crown Prosecution Service has been acting as agent for the Kingdom of Spain in its capacity as a private lawyer acting for a foreign client and not that of prosecutor, as has been recognised by the Divisional Court. It would not therefore be appropriate to detail the contents of the meetings held in Madrid. The matters raised touch on client-solicitor confidentiality and are for resolving through the judicial process.