Law Report: 28 January 1998: No inquiry into conduct amounting to offence

When deciding, on an application to deliver up a person to the Irish authorities under the Backing of Warrants (Republic of Ireland) Act 1965, whether the offence specified in the Irish warrant corresponds with an English offence, a magistrate does not have to inquire into the conduct alleged to amount to the offence.

Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Gilligan; Queen's Bench Divisional Court (Lord Justice May and Mr Justice Astill) 12 January 1998

The Divisional Court dismissed the application of John Joseph Gilligan for a writ of habeas corpus following the decision of a metropolitan stipendiary magistrate that he be delivered up and returned to Ireland pursuant to section 2 of the Backing of Warrants (Republic of Ireland) Act 1965.

The applicant was arrested at Heathrow Airport attempting to board a flight to Amsterdam, and was charged with offences contrary to the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1994. He was committed for trial. In the meantime the Special Criminal Court in Dublin granted 18 arrest warrants against him, charging him with the murder of Veronica Guerin, and with drugs and firearms offences.

Proceedings were taken for the warrants to be executed in England for the return of the applicant to Ireland. The English trial was adjourned. On 28 October 1997 the applicant was ordered to be delivered up under section 2 of the Backing of Warrants (Republic of Ireland) Act 1965, and on 11 November he applied for a writ of habeas corpus.

Clare Montgomery QC and James Lewis (Stokoe Partnership) for the applicant; Nigel Peters QC and Sean Collery (Crown Prosecution Service) for the Government of Ireland and (Solicitor, HM Customs and Excise) for HM Customs and Excise.

Lord Justice May said that it was submitted on behalf of the applicant, inter alia, that there was insufficient material before the magistrate to enable him to conclude that the offences specified in the Irish warrants corresponded with English offences.

Section 1 of the Backing of Warrants (Republic of Ireland) Act 1965 provided for the endorsement by a justice of the peace in the United Kingdom of "a warrant . . . issued by a judicial authority in the Republic of Ireland . . . for the arrest of a person accused or convicted of an offence against the laws of the Republic, being an indictable offence . . ." Section 2(2) provided that an order delivering up such a person to the Irish authorities should not be made if it appeared to the court that the offence specified in the warrant did not correspond with any offence under the law of the United Kingdom which was an indictable offence.

The submission for the applicant was that "offence" in section 2(2) of the Act should be construed to mean the conduct which was alleged to amount to the offence specified in the warrant. However, the meaning of the expression "the offence specified in the warrant" was quite clear. It meant quite simply that the court had to read the warrant to find the offence specified. No other material was admissible.

The offence specified in the warrant had to "correspond with any offence under [English] law . . . which is indictable or is punishable on summary conviction with imprisonment for six months". The word "any" showed that the court was not necessarily looking for an English offence which was identical with the offence specified in the warrant, but that the offence specified in the warrant had to be a sufficiently serious Irish offence, and would also amount to some sufficiently serious English offence. That view was supported by R v Metropolitan Police Commissioner, ex p Arkins [1066] 1 WLR 1593.

Of the 18 warrants in the present case, only two specified offences which did not correspond with English offences. The decision to deliver up the applicant on those two warrants should be quashed, but otherwise the application for a writ of habeas corpus failed.

- Kate O'Hanlon, Barrister

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference