Extending European arrest warrants to cover the Isle of Man would probably create more problems than it solved, according to the island’s Chief Constable.
Gary Roberts has set out the position on the extradition of foreign criminals following the case of wanted Polish rapist Marian Dorobek.
Dorobek, who had been on the run since November after being sentenced to 10 years for multiple sex offences, was arrested by Lancashire police officers on February 1 after arriving by Steam Packet ferry at Heysham.
It emerged that he could not be arrested in the island as the European arrest warrant issued in Poland could not be executed here.
Mr Roberts told the Examiner: ’European arrest warrants generally only apply in EU countries that are party to the relevant treaty. Some European treaties have been extended to the Isle of Man by agreement, but this isn’t one.
’The island isn’t party either to the Europol treaty, which deals amongst other things with the exchange of intelligence between European Union states.
’Generally speaking, we have had few problems because of this and, in fact, the requirements brought by being party to the treaties would probably cause more issues than they would solve.’
He said the Manx force is able to access European intelligence via Interpol or through the UK authorities.
Aside from the European arrest warrant system, there are long established extradition procedures in place, explained the Chief Constable.
Countries can have bi or multi-lateral treaties with other states to allow for execution of arrest warrants.
These warrants are different and generally involve two tests: is the alleged offence an offence in the country which is being asked to execute the warrant and is the country executing it satisfied that the person will get a fair trial? These tests mean that, for example, the UK would not send someone back to their homeland to face a religious charge.
’The Isle of Man does not make extradition treaties and it has no powers to act outside the oversight of the UK,’ he said.
Mr Roberts said: ’If someone is found here for whom an extradition warrant is in place, our officers would arrest the person and officers from the Met’s extradition unit would travel to the island and take them back to London, where a district judge would deal with the formalities of the extradition request.
’Alternatively, we could seek the extradition of a suspect from abroad. We have extradited suspects from the Republic of Ireland, for example.’
But he continued: ’Where a European warrant is in existence and where the suspect is in the Isle of Man, we have no powers at all.
’If the suspect is willing to go to the UK, as was recently the case, then that ends the matter as the UK authorities can act. We even gave them four to five hours’ notice, not momentary notice, as one of our UK colleagues seems to have suggested!
’If they are not willing to leave, then the state seeking them will have to obtain an extradition warrant. This takes time and the warrant will have to go through various judicial processes in the requesting state and in the UK, before it eventually becomes fit for execution here. Days, perhaps weeks, would likely elapse.’
The other option is if someone wanted on a European arrest warrant were to be arrested here for an imprisonable offence.
Mr Roberts said: ’If there was evidence to charge, then we could get them convicted here and then excluded. This would allow us to force them off the island and into the UK or Ireland, where they could be dealt with and repatriated.’