Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (523)

Peadar Tóibín


523. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to the extradition proceeding in respect of a person (details supplied) if he will instruct his officials to seek a negotiation between the Irish and Hungarian authorities that ultimately yields a solution, agreeable to all the parties involved; if he will confirm that his officials have exhausted all possible options to facilitate the serving of the sentence here without first having to travel to Hungary; and the extent to which he can take the lead in seeking a mutually satisfactory conclusion to this tragic affair, by virtue of Ireland’s current role as EU president. [10233/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Hungarian authorities issued a European arrest warrant for the person in question in 2005. Surrender was refused in the High Court on the basis that the person concerned had not fled the state in question, which was a requirement of the European Arrest Warrant Act at that time. The decision of the High Court was appealed to the Supreme Court which affirmed the original decision to refuse surrender.

Legislation was subsequently amended to remove the 'fled' requirement in respect of persons sought to serve a sentence in the issuing state. This amendment brought the Act into closer compliance with the relevant EU Framework Decision which referred to 'fleeing' in the Recital but did not include the term in the relevant Article.

After the legislation was changed, the Hungarian authorities submitted a new warrant. The High Court ordered the surrender of the person concerned and that Order was appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court upheld the appeal and refused to surrender the person.

As the Deputy will be aware, the courts are, subject only to the Constitution and the law, independent in the exercise of their functions. In the circumstances, I am not in a position to make any further comment in the matter other than to say that there are no further EAW proceedings pending in this jurisdiction.

The Deputy will appreciate that persons can be detained only in accordance with law and, while this case has been the subject of extensive contact between the Irish and Hungarian authorities, there is no action open to me by virtue of Ireland's current role as EU President in relation to this matter.