I move amendment No. 4:
In page 3, before section 2, to insert the following new section:
"2.—Section 50 of the Act of 1965 is amended by the insertion, after subsection (4), of the following subsection:
‘(5) A direction under this section may be given by the Court or the Minister, if the Court or the Minister—
(a) is not satisfied that the person concerned will receive a fair trial within a reasonable period.
(b) is not satisfied, that the general standards which prevail in the administration of justice in the place to which the person is to be removed are satisfactory and acceptable, or
(c) has reasonable grounds for believing that the person concerned may be subjected to methods of interrogation which, if operated within the State would be unlawful or which are in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.'.".
This is a very important amendment which we are proposing as a safeguard in the introduction of this new legislation. I did not want to prolong discussion on section 1, but I would point out to the Minister that we agreed in principle to support the taking of Second Stage on the understanding that safeguards would be provided for Irish citizens. This is one of the safeguards which we feel must be provided in this Bill. I am quite certain I am striking a chord which rings true with the Minister because his own amendment whereby he is putting back the date of commencement from 1 June to 1 December indicates he is concerned about the matters in this amendment.
We are seeking to ensure that a person who is extradited to any place will receive a fair trial in a reasonable period of time, that the general standards which prevail in the administration of justice in that place will be acceptable and, thirdly, that the methods of interrogation used on persons in custody will also be acceptable. These are three very basic safeguards which I am sure the Minister would support. I will be very interested to hear what he has to say about the importance of such safeguards. When we look at Northern Ireland we are faced with the infamous Diplock courts which have certainly been discredited in the eyes of the world. I know the Minister will say he is hoping to have change in that area but today's papers carry reports about a statement by Mr. King on this matter.The Irish Times states:
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr. Tom King, yesterday repeated the British Government's opposition to the introduction of a three-judge Diplock court system in Northern Ireland, but indicated that such a change could be considered at some stage in the future.
Proposing the second reading of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Bill, Mr. King told the House of Commons that the Diplock court system had successfully maintained the highest standards of justice in Northern Ireland.
There seems to be a gap between the understanding of justice as it is applied here to citizens in this country and Mr. King's understanding of the highest standards of justice.The Irish Times report continues:
The Under-Secretary of State, Mr. Nicholas Scott, also said that the Government was "not presently persuaded" of the necessity for such change,
Not surprisingly, the Deputy Leader of the SDLP, Mr. Séamus Mallon, in relation to the Emergency Provisions Act and its operation in the North of Ireland, said:
The Act itself is so inherently harsh, so far removed from the highest standards that any changes, however good of themselves, will inevitably be deficient. It is like trying to write a travel brochure about Siberia — one might admire the glossy brochure and photographs but Siberia itself is unchanged and unchangeable.
These are not my words but those of the Deputy Leader of the SDLP yesterday. We are all very familiar with the problems which have arisen in relation to the administration of justice in Northern Ireland and, as far as Irish citizens are concerned, in Great Britain. We want to provide safeguards for our citizens, especially with the limitation of the political offence which this Bill involves.
When we look at the situation in the North of Ireland we should look for independent, objective views. On Second Stage and yesterday Members of the House pointed to the difficulties they saw. I should like to refer to the bookUse and Abuse of Emergency Legislation in Northern Ireland by Dermot P. Walsh, published by the Cobden Trust in 1983. Dermot Walsh is a barrister-at-law and a lecturer in law at University College Cork. The Cobden Trust is, of course, the National Council for Civil Liberties in the United Kingdom. He undertook an objective, scholarly study of the situation in the North and he presents his material in that way. Many of his conclusions are relevant to this debate and to some of the statements the Minister made today and yesterday. He states:
The Special Powers regulations, therefore, gave the RUC the means to short circuit traditional British policing and judicial practice by relying on very broad powers of arrest to maintain control.
When Westminster repealed the Special Powers legislation it did not strip the RUC of its wide powers of arrest. These were simply re-worded and re-enacted in new legislation. Today the relevant powers are contained in section 11 of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1978 (EPA) and section 12 (1) (b) of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1976 (PTA)...
A terrorist is defined in section 28 (1) as ‘a person who is or has been concerned in the commission or attempted commission of any act of terrorism or in directing, organising or training persons for the purposes of terrorism'.
He goes on to analyse experience of the operations of this Act. One of the conclusions as far as the courts are concerned is as follows:
It would seem to be police and DPP practice to prefer the most serious charges available in respect of a particular incident. For example, where an accused is on the periphery of a murder to the extent of passing on information about security force movements he will be charged with murder along with the more appropriate lesser charges; equally, where the circumstances of a case would favour a charge of manslaughter a charge of murder is always preferred.
I would recommend this booklet to the Minister, because it goes on to deal with many of the concerns of people in this House, with the lack of access to a solicitor, with abuse in the interrogation room, with the unusual features of interrogation which had been made very public over the years — so public that it was necessary for this country to take the United Kingdom to the European Court of Human Rights. That court gave its judgment on 18 January 1978. I do not need to dwell unduly on that; I am sure the Minister is familiar with the case. For a whole series of reasons and having exhaustively examined the case brought by Ireland against the United Kingdom, by 16 votes to one it was decided that the use of the five techniques constituted the practice of inhuman and degrading treatment, which practice was in breach of Article 3. Unanimously, they claimed that other practices were in violation of Article 3. There was a great deal of detail in that report but that is a matter of public record. It is not a question raised by Opposition Members or based on biases or prejudices, or just a matter of emotional concern, as the Minister seemed to indicate yesterday. These are hard facts which have been substantiated. They are matters of considerable concern to us in relation to our citizens.
In that same study, various legal cases were pointed to, one in which it was found that if arrested under section 12 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, a person has no right to know the offence of which he is suspected. It is stated that it would be sufficient if he was told that he was suspected of being a terrorist. Another finding was that an arrest under section 12 (1) (b) is simply the first step in the investigation of a person's involvement in terrorism. The conclusion was that the purpose of interrogation in the Northern emergency apparatus would appear to be twofold — first, to procure a confession to a criminal offence and, secondly, intelligence gathering.
Now we are back to Mr. Prior and his statement that the force need only have reasonable suspicion about the person in question to apply for extradition. He further said that this does not mean that the police force necessarily have enough evidence to bring a charge against the suspect, but just a reasonable suspicion.
The records are full of cases where citizens have been subjected to harsh and inhuman treatment and to treatment which verges on that if it does not quite come to that level. A serious danger was pointed out in the McGlinchey case, although there are many other aspects in that case. McGlinchey, as we know, could have been brought to trial here in the first instance before being sent across the Border. That did not happen, he went across the Border and the evidence — if you like to call it evidence — principally arose from affidavits which he had given in the courts in Dublin when his case was being presented there. We all know the length of time during which he was kept up there and in the long run there was no evidence in relation to that particular charge. There is a real fear that people on this side of the House have and this was described by Deputy Taylor yesterday as "fishing operations". The authorities are fishing to get people to tell them about other people where these people do not have any involvement themselves. We have already provided, under the first section, that they can fish back into the past on the same basis. We advise the Minister to make it at least apply from today when this Act passes in the House.