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Prisoners: Escape

Volume 715: debated on Tuesday 1 December 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 28 October (WA 165) about the Crown Prosecution Service decision not to prosecute or seek the extradition of Pearse McAuley and Nessan Quinlivan on the charge of escaping from custody in 1991, what were the statements made by Ministers as set out by the Crown Prosecution Service's statement of 5 August; and what were the statements made by Ministers following the talks at Weston Park in 2001. [HL139]

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided that there was no longer a realistic prospect of a conviction in this case. The decision not to continue with the prosecution and extradition was made for a number of reasons, including the availability or otherwise of key exhibits, statements made by Ministers, and the length of time since the acts took place. The courts in Ireland adjourned the extradition cases against a background of discussions which took place between the British and Irish Governments on the issue of outstanding prosecutions and extraditions against those who committed offences before 10 April 1998. The statements referred to in my earlier Answer were those made by Dr John Reid, then the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and Brian Cowen, then the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, on 1 August 2001 in a letter sent to party leaders following the Weston Park Talks; and on 24 October 2001, in the House of Commons, by Dr John Reid (Official Report, House of Commons, 24 October 2001, col. 304). The statements were amongst the many matters considered by the CPS in reviewing the case as a whole.