High-profile requests from the US have brought Britain's extradition laws into the news. But Britain actually sends more people for trial to Poland than anywhere else and the architect of the law, David Blunkett, admits there have been unintended consequences.I want to leave aside the US extradition treaty and concentrate on the EU one, not because the US treaty is any better, but because the EU is more pernicious and won't be changed because it is about politics and not security.
In the program much is made of the petty extraditions to EU countries and this is given as an example:
Gregg, a Polish builder and decorator who now lives in Merseyside, wears a look of regret. He is being extradited from Britain to Poland to face charges, in what critics say is a flawed aspect of Britain's Extradition Act 2003.Lets imagine that Gregg had been a scouser who now lived Manchester and had stolen those chocolate bars from Tesco. Would anyone have been making such a fuss about the case? I don't think so, so why all the fuss over it because he is going back to Poland to pay for his crime?
Five years ago, on his way to a party in his home town in western Poland, Gregg shoplifted about £70 worth of Milka bars.
Gregg, who has since built a new life with his fiancee in the UK and runs his own business, had forgotten about the incident until last month, when British police in his adopted homeland came to arrest him and send him home.
If you believe in the EU project then this is a good thing for it means that we have made one more positive step in the pursuit of ever closer union. The BBC should be celebrating this case with the proviso that the only thing wrong is that they had to go to court first and that he should have been transferred straight to Poland.
Me? Well I am an EU skeptic and would leve tomorrow, but that aside I don't want people to come here as a refuge from their crimes, no matter how petty they seem to us. However the full cost of the case should be paid by Poland, there should be a prima facia case and whatever the "crime" it should be illegal in this country as well.