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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Law of unintended consequences

There's a detailed double page spread in the Evening Standard tonight about the case of Deborah Dark, a grandmother wanted in France under the European Arrest Warrant (EAW). The case relates to 21 kg of cannabis that was found in her car at the French border back in 1988 (21 years ago). Some of the details of her case are pretty shocking.

This is a classic case of the 'dangerous unintended consequences' of EU legislation.

The EAW was designed to facilitate extradition between member states for serious crimes, but is now routinely used for offences which were never discussed when it first came off the books.

The EAW was bulldozed through in September 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. The justification for it was that new rules were needed to tackle cross-border organised crime such as terrorism, in the uncertain new world.

The press release from Antonio Vitorino, then EU Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs, said at the time, "The European Commission is calling for greater harmonisation and closer cooperation in combating terrorism and crime." Vitorino is quoted saying "Terrorist acts are committed by international gangs with bases in several countries, exploiting loopholes in the law created by the geographical limits on investigators and often enjoying substantial financial and legal treatment between states".

In a debate in the House of Commons in December 2002 on the Extradition Bill ,which implemented the EU Framework Decision on the EAW, the Home Office Minister John Denham said:

"In future, cases within the EU should take about three months, as opposed to nine to twelve months at the moment. The current timetable for bringing serious criminals to justice does a great disservice to the victims of crime... The European Arrest Warrant means that serious criminals accused of fiscal offences will no longer be able to hide within the EU."

There are a couple of instances where the EAW has been used to expedite the extradition of terror suspects across the EU and ensure they stand trial. But there is increasing evidence to suggest the legislation is taking on something of a life of its own.

According to an article in European Voice today, a report issued in May has revealed that while some member states examine each arrest warrant request to check if the crime is serious enough to transfer a suspect to another member state, other EU countries consider such a check superfluous.

The extradition of people like Deborah Dark was not what was intended when Ministers were thinking of ways to tackle serious and organised crime. But that's little consolation - the EAW hangs over her head, even though she has already been aquitted by two different courts.

And so she becomes another sad example of what happens when knee-jerk EU legislation goes wrong.

The Evening Standard article ends on a pessimistic note, with the recognition that because this is EU law, it will be a complete nightmare to overturn.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This case is not an "unintended consequence" of the law. The Commission planned this. The aim of the legislation - as with all other - is to turn the member states into a single polity. Sometimes this is achieved by making all states have the same rules for seatbelts, at other times - like this - it is achieved by effectively turning 27 discrete countries into one jurisdiction.

Anonymous said...

This and
http://www.openeurope.org.uk/media-centre/article.aspx?newsid=2557

both clearly show what is so wrong with emotive argument.

For one thing, the woman whom you leap to defend could have known what she was doing, and therefore is guilty as charged.

What do such people expect as they haul drugs around and think they will get away with it?

Second.

The Commission does not plan these kinds of conspiracy theorist crackpot schemes, because the Commission isn't a dictator! Every few years the members turned out and a new crew taking over, they don't have enough time to get a pay off.

Now that I am regularly reading the outpourings of the Irish diaspora in Europe, I can't help but recall my experience with female Irish Government workers.

Back in the 1980's very ill and having bought a home in Ireland, as well as being well able to support myself - indefinitely -, I returned to the ROI and offered my Irish Passport and papers at the customs office where I entered the state.

The female customs officer flew into rage and between cussing me out as a sponger and several other abuses finaly was restrained by a male co-worker, and so I for a few more months I lived in the land of my birth before the penny dropped about what modern Ireland is all about.

After getting the gazillion Euros by joining, now the spoiled brats are ready to bite the hand that feeds them by putting the boot into the EU because the high life style in Europe isn't enough for the likes of Honor O'Mahony or the other one here on this site.

So the EU is now a 'block', the Commission some kind of evil scheme, the EP undemocratic etc etc.

I suppose when I see several complaining whinging UKIP MEPS draw a fat salary for disrupting the EP, and devoting themselves to the destruction of the EU, I could hardly blame these Dublin biddies Dublin for their behavior!

MikeH said...

@ Anonymous 3:56pm ...

What a weird rant!

The woman was cleared of the charge after the incident. Read the article.

And the Commission's corporate objective is 'ever closer union', whoever occupies the actual (appointed) positions. Read the treaty.

That you seem to believe the Irish should hand over any governing powers demanded in return for past EU grants is a wonderful depiction of the democratic outlook held by types who like the EU. Unquestioning obedience bought and paid for, right?

Coupled, as ever, to a bad case of 'if you can't answer the argument, disparage those making it'.

For all that, I thank you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Says: 3:56 PM
This and
http://www.openeurope.org.uk/media-centre/article.aspx?newsid=2557

"both clearly show what is so wrong with emotive argument."

So why do you choose to use an emotive argument?

"For one thing, the woman whom you leap to defend could have known what she was doing, and therefore is guilty as charged".


No she wasn't, and this is a great argument not to have the common extradition policy which is being forced on to us by edict from the unelected commission.

"What do such people expect as they haul drugs around and think they will get away with it"?

No most of them are drug abusers and need the money to pay for their habit, this woman was innocent.

Second.

"The Commission does not plan these kinds of conspiracy theorist crackpot schemes, because the Commission isn't a dictator! Every few years the members turned out and a new crew taking over, they don't have enough time to get a pay off."


The unelected commissars get a very handsome pay off after leaving the commission, on top of the huge salaries, and perks they get whilst ruining our countries with the amount of lowest common denominator, one size fits all(nobody) legislation that spews out of their offices.

"Now that I am regularly reading the outpourings of the Irish diaspora in Europe, I can't help but recall my experience with female Irish Government workers".

You mean one female Irish employee, only an idiot tars everyone with the same brush.

"Back in the 1980's very ill and having bought a home in Ireland, as well as being well able to support myself - indefinitely -, I returned to the ROI and offered my Irish Passport and papers at the customs office where I entered the state.

The female customs officer flew into rage and between cussing me out as a sponger and several other abuses finaly was restrained by a male co-worker, and so I for a few more months I lived in the land of my birth before the penny dropped about what modern Ireland is all about".


One person who you clearly wound up and annoyed, I have no doubt that she wouldn't be in work if she was like that with everyone.

"After getting the gazillion Euros by joining, now the spoiled brats are ready to bite the hand that feeds them by putting the boot into the EU because the high life style in Europe isn't enough for the likes of Honor O'Mahony or the other one here on this site".


Yes I for one am fed up with my country, the UK subsidising most of europe via the corruption ridden democratically deficient eu, but for the Irish people to believe in democracy is something you as an Irish person should be proud of.

"So the EU is now a 'block', the Commission some kind of evil scheme, the EP undemocratic etc etc".


Yes it is a bloc, a corruption ridden democratically deficient fascist bloc that seems to be run for the good of the political class.

"I suppose when I see several complaining whinging UKIP MEPS draw a fat salary for disrupting the EP, and devoting themselves to the destruction of the EU, I could hardly blame these Dublin biddies Dublin for their behavior"!

UKIP is a political party which is fed up with the ever diminishing amount of influence that our elected parliament has in running our country because of the huge amount of laws, 96% of our new laws emanate from the eu, which are prescribed by the failed politicians who make up the commission, and are rubber stamped in the eu parliament where MEP's are very fortunate if they ever get a chance to speak in a debate, and are severely restricted when they actually win a place to speak in the lottery of time that the eu uses.

Every MEP draws a fat salary, and has less actual power that your average unpaid parish councilor.

It's amazing how europhiles are so poorly educated as to what the eu really means to the downtrodden non politicians being squeezed by this body.