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Terrorism: Information Sharing

Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 10 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she has had with her counterparts in those EU member states which allow for the admissibility of intercept evidence in the prosecution of suspected terrorists and others involved in serious crimes on the subject; and if she will make a statement. (261400)

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has regular contact with her EU counterparts in the Justice and Home Affairs Council and in bilateral meetings. She has not had any specific discussions relating to intercept as evidence (IAE) with her counterparts in EU member states.

The Terms of Reference of the cross-party Privy Council Review of IAE (CM7324), established by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in July 2007, included the requirement to consider the experience of other countries and their relevance to the UK. It found that (para 180):

“the approaches adopted by the EU countries, other than the Republic of Ireland, tend not to have great relevance for the UK...”

It also noted (para 135) that in the Republic of Ireland the practice is:

“not to use intercept product as evidence in prosecutions”.

Progress on implementing the Privy Council Review’s recommendations can be found in the written ministerial statement made by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on 12 February 2009, Official Report, columns 89-90WS.