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Peter Devlin

Volume 404: debated on Monday 28 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent contact British consular staff have had with the Spanish authorities regarding the case of Peter Devlin; what guidelines the Government issues to consular staff concerning intervention when a British national is arrested by Spanish authorities but awaits formal charge while the case is under investigation; what plans he and consular staff have to raise the case of Mr. Devlin with the Spanish authorities again; and if he will make a statement. [108594]

Our Honorary Consul spoke with the Spanish court on 9 September 2002, and was informed that, except for certain items relevant to the investigation, the court agreed to release all of Force 9 Salvage's equipment. Our Honorary Consul spoke to the presiding judge again on 11 April 2003. The judge confirmed that the investigation was ongoing but would not release further information about the case. Our consular staff cannot intervene in the judicial system of another country. Our own judicial system is similarly protected. Our consular team in Spain will continue to monitor this case, but as my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary noted in his letter of 20 November 2002, this is a legal matter and the company should continue to be guided by its lawyer.