I move amendment No. 2:
In page 3, before section 2, to insert the following new section:
"2.—(1) No citizen of Ireland shall be extradited pursuant to the provisions of this Act, or the Act of 1965, unless the provisions of subsection (2) of this section have been satisfied.
(2) No order for the extradition of an Irish citizen shall be made unless the District Court is satisfied, on the evidence before it, that there is a sufficient case which would warrant the sending forward for trial of that person as if the offence alleged were an indictable offence and had been committed within the State.
(3) (a) For the purpose of subsection (2) hereof evidence may include or consist of documents referred to in section 6 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1967.
(b) The said documents shall be served on the person whose extradition is sought and copies shall be furnished to the Court.
(c) A document served pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subsection shall be received in evidence without further proof if it purports to be signed or certified by a judge, magistrate or other judicial officer of the requesting country or place and to be authenticated by the oath of some witness.
(4) (a) Where the extradition of an Irish citizen is being sought in respect of an offence for which that person has already been convicted in the requesting State, subsection (2) of this section shall be deemed to have been complied with if evidence is tendered which satisfies the District Court of the fact of that conviction.
(b) Provided always that no person shall be extradited if that person has been tried and convicted in absentia..”.
This amendment is principally to deal with the question of whether a person can be extradited without a prima facie case being made against him or her. It also deals with a case where a person has been convicted, and that is a different matter, but principally it deals with the question of a prima facie case being made.
I would like to point out that the amendment merely deals with the case of citizens, of nationals of Ireland. It only provides that in the case of nationals a prima facie case must be made. I know it can be argued that if we provided for this in the case of extradition to all the countries involved in the convention it would create certain difficulties and, consequently, it provides only in the case of Irish nationals. It would probably create difficulties in the case of other countries because some of them do not have the procedure for requiring a prima facie case to be made and it would be inappropriate to that extent.
What is provided in this amendment is that in the case of an Irish national for whom extradition is sought, a prima facie case must be made before extradition is granted. This seems to be an eminently reasonable requirement because if he cannot be sent forward for trial in his own country without the case being made, then why should he be sent forward for trial in another country? The arguments seem to be very much in favour of it. It should be looked at in the context of the fact that many other countries who have signed the convention have signed it with various reservations. A great many of the countries involved will not extradite their own national at all. That applies in the case of Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden. They will deal with it in another way but they will not extradite a national. I realise there would be considerable difficulties if we were to adopt the same reservations as these countries and say we will not extradite a national. Because of the position in the North of Ireland and the UK, that would obviously make the situation very difficult indeed but not impossible because they could still be dealt with under the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act, 1976.
In this amendment in the case of Irish nationals, we are going a long way towards accepting the spirit of the convention — we will extradite them but only if a prima facie case is made against them. On the one hand that is being reasonable and is going a long way towards doing what this Bill requires us to do but, on the other hand, it gives some protection to our own nationals. It gives the protection which they would have in their own country if they were charged with an offence and under that situation they would not be sent forward for trial unless a prima facie case had been made.
That is the principal provision in this amendment. In all the circumstances it goes a long way towards meeting our obligations under the convention and, at the same time, it provides the same kind of protection that a national would have if he was charged with an offence in this country. I cannot see how any strong argument could be made against adopting this amendment. There are many reservations expressed by various countries in regard to this convention. Reservations are made in regard to prima facie case, to nationals, to the kind of court that the person might be tried by and in regard to who decides whether it is a political offence.
In regard to prima facie case, extradition will not take place from the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Israel or Norway; according to a list I have here they will not extradite unless a prima facie case has been made. A number of other contries have similar provisions. The prima facie procedure would not be applicable to many of these countries which have an inquisitorial system. Countries such as Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, Italy and The Netherlands have similar kinds of protections in regard to extradition which cannot be prima facie because it would not apply in these countries, but there are similar protections of that kind.
In all the circumstances, an amendment to provide that our own nationals will not be put in a worse position than they would be if they were charged with an offence in this country is a reasonable one. Against the background of these various other countries who have introduced various reservations, this would seem an eminently modest provision, a very modest protection for our own citizens and one which is in no way contrary to the spirit of the Bill or the spirit of the convention.