HC Deb 17 November 2003 vol 413 c467W
Simon Hughes

To ask the Solicitor-General what the policy of the United Kingdom Government is on requesting extradition of individuals accused of torturing British nationals abroad, in the absence of a pending prosecution in the country where the accused is located. [137834]

The Solicitor-General

The courts of England and Wales may have jurisdiction in respect of an offence committed abroad if the offender, or the victim, is a British national. Once such jurisdiction is established then the procedures for investigating and prosecuting the case are the same as for any case prosecuted in the courts of England and Wales. The police are responsible for investigating allegations of criminal offences and for obtaining admissible evidence to prove the alleged offence. The CPS is responsible for the prosecution of all criminal cases resulting from police investigations. The police ask the advice of the CPS before charging any person with a criminal offence.

In complex and serious cases such as potential offences involving torture, the police will invariably consult with the CPS for advice on the sufficiency of the evidence before a person is charged. The CPS will consider each case that is passed to it by the police. Each case is carefully considered to assess whether it meets the test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors, issued under section 10 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. Once the CPS has decided to start a prosecution, if the alleged offender is located abroad the CPS will refer an application for extradition to the Secretary of State for the Home Department who will forward the request through the appropriate diplomatic channels.