QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE HICKINBOTTOM
| CONSTANTIN SANDI
|- and -
|THE CRAIOVA COURT, ROMANIA
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MISS ALLY WILKES (instructed by CPS Extradition) for the Respondent
Hearing date: 19 November 2009
Crown Copyright ©
Mr Justice Hickinbottom:
"during 20.01.2007 - 08.03.2008 the convict, alone or with other persons, has stolen goods from the drying rooms of blocs from Craiova city, from the residences of some Owners Associations and from cars."
"(5) The objective set for the Union to become an area of freedom, security and justice leads to abolishing extradition between member states and replacing it by a system of surrender between judicial authorities. Further, the introduction of a new simplified system of surrender of sentenced or suspected persons for the purposes of execution or prosecution of criminal sentences makes it possible to remove the complexity and potential for delay inherent in the present extradition procedures. Traditional cooperation relations which have prevailed up till now between member states should be replaced by a system of free movement of judicial decisions in criminal matters, covering both pre-sentence and final decisions, within an area of freedom, security and justice….
(8) Decisions on the execution of the European Arrest Warrant must be subject to sufficient controls, which means that a judicial authority of the member state where the requested person has been arrested will have to take the decision on his or her surrender…."
"Member states shall execute any European Arrest Warrant on the basis of the principle of mutual recognition and in accordance with the provisions of this framework decision"
"These provisions show that the result to be achieved was to remove the complexity and potential for delay that was inherent in the existing extradition procedures. They were to be replaced by a much simpler system of surrender between judicial authorities. This system was to be subject to sufficient controls to enable the judicial authorities of the requested state to decide whether or not surrender was in accordance with the terms and conditions which the Framework Decision lays down. But care had to be taken not to make them unnecessarily elaborate. Complexity and delay are inimicable to its objective."
"[The Framework Decision] was conceived and adopted as a ground-breaking measure intended to simplify and expedite procedures for the surrender, between member states, of those accused of crimes committed in other member states or required to be sentenced or serve sentences for such crimes following conviction in other member states. Extradition procedures in the past had been disfigured by undue technicality and gross delays. There is to be substituted "a system of surrender between judicial authorities" and "a system of free movement of judicial decisions in criminal matters" (recital (5) of the preamble to the Framework Decision). This is to implement the principle of mutual recognition which the Council has described as the cornerstone of judicial co-operation (recital (6)). The important underlying assumption of the Framework Decision is that member states, sharing common values and recognising common rights, can and should trust the integrity and fairness of each others judicial institutions."
"As with any European instrument, these requirements must be read in the light of its objectives. A balance must be struck between, in this case, the need on the one hand for an adequate description to inform the person, and on the other the object of simplifying extradition procedures."
The Framework Decision therefore seeks to simplify extradition procedures between member states, within a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, whilst ensuring that the rights of those sought to be extradited are respected.
"The United Kingdom has taken full advantage of that method of implementation".
"particulars of the circumstances in which the person is alleged to have committed the offence, including the conduct alleged to constitute the offence, the time and place at which he is alleged to have committed the offence and any provision of the law of the category 1 territory under which the conduct is alleged to constitute an offence".
The information required where the warrant is issued in respect of a convict ("a conviction warrant") does not have an equivalent to section 2(4)(c), but does include (by section 2(6)(b)) "particulars of the conviction".
"… [W]hile a national court may not interpret a national law contra legem, it must 'do so as far as possible in the light of the wording and purpose of the Framework Decision in order to attain the result which it pursues and thus comply with Article 32(2)(b) EU'".
In other words, whilst it is the provisions of the 2003 Act that must be construed in relation to the requirements for an EAW, one must scrutinise the wording of those provisions purposively in the context of the Framework Decision. That is stressed in each of the substantive opinions in Dabas (in addition to Lord Bingham at , per Lord Hope at , per Lord Scott at  and per Lord Brown at ).
"The European Arrest Warrant shall contain the following information set out in accordance with the form contained in the annexe [to the Framework Decision]…"
That information includes:
"(d) the nature and legal classification of the offence…
(e) a description of the circumstances in which the offence was committed, including the time, place and degree of participation in the offence by the requested person;
(f) the penalty imposed, if there is a final judgment, or the prescribed scale of penalties for the offence under the law of the issuing member state…"
These provisions of the Framework Decision make no distinction between accusation and conviction warrants.
"The language of section 2(4)(c) is not obscure and, in my judgment, it should be given its plain and ordinary meaning. The sub-section requires the warrant to obtain particulars of the circumstances in which the person is alleged to have committed the offence. These particulars must include four elements: (1) the conduct alleged to constitute the offence; the time and (3) the place at which he is alleged to have committed the offence; and (4) any provision of law under which the conduct is alleged to constitute an offence…. [Q]uestions may arise as to how specific descriptions of time and place need be…. The use of the introductory word 'particulars' indicates that a broad omnibus description of the alleged criminal conduct, 'obtaining property by deception', to take an English example, will not suffice."
"The warrant relates the committing of an offence of qualified robbery. The description of the circumstances in which the facts were commited, including the moment (date and hour), the place and the degree of participation to these of the sued person: during 20.01.2007 - 08.03.2008 the convict, alone or with other persons, has stolen goods from the drying rooms of blocs from Craiova city, from the residences of some Owners Associations and from cars."
(i) The number of charges upon which the Appellant was convicted is not given. However, as I have indicated, the number of convictions is given, as one. As I understand it, in Romania it is possible to bring one charge on the basis of a course of conduct.
(ii) There is no reference to the identity of the victims, or addresses of the residences (or roads in which the relevant cars were) from which the thefts were made. However, that is to require far too great a degree of particularisation, equating particulars of conviction to something akin to (at least) the particulars on an indictment.
(iii) There is no indication of whether the Appellant acted alone or in concert with others, his "degree of participation" being information particularly required by Article 8(1). However, although I appreciate that this level of detail might not be sufficient if this were an accusation warrant, I am satisfied that it is sufficient for this conviction warrant. The conviction was in respect of a series of thefts from residences and cars over a two month period, and it does not seem to me that an absence of particularisation as to which particular criminal activities were committed alone and which with others substantively detracts from the ability of the Appellant to understand the conviction and its consequences.
Lord Justice Moses: