Wednesday, 22 October 2008

That European Arrest Warrant

Something else we can note about the European Arrest Warrant.

The increase is largely down to the volume of European arrest warrants (EAWs), many of them issued by Poland.

EAWs, requiring the arrest and extradition of suspects from one EU country to another, are being used by Poland for a "large volume of trivial extradition requests", according to Detective Sergeant Gary Flood of Scotland Yard's extradition unit.

He estimated that 40% of all extradition cases dealt with by the Metropolitan police originated in Poland, adding that many of the offences were so minor they would lead to either a caution or no investigation at all in England and Wales.

In one case, according to Flood, a carpenter who fitted wardrobe doors and then removed them when the client refused to pay him, was subject to an extradition request by Poland so that they could try him for theft. In another case, the Polish authorities requested the extradition of a suspect for theft of a dessert. "The European arrest warrant contained a list of the ingredients," Flood said.

The problem is that there's no one who is (in the words of my colleague here, Clive Page) responsible for common sense. There are things which could, if we really tried, if we were prepared to be entirely nuts about prosecuting every piece of trivia, which could be court cases.

But we do (and had even more in the past) a system which did exactly that. Magistrates could look at a case in front of them and, while not actually saying as such, simply reject it as being trivial.

But what this EAW does is ties us in with legal systems that don't have that.

Aren't we lucky, eh?

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