Pilecki v Circuit Court of Legnica, Poland

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtHouse of Lords
JudgeLORD SCOTT OF FOSCOTE,LORD BROWN OF EATON-UNDER-HEYWOOD,LORD NEUBERGER OF ABBOTSBURY,LORD BINGHAM OF CORNHILL,LORD HOPE OF CRAIGHEAD
Judgment Date06 Feb 2008
Neutral Citation[2008] UKHL 7

[2008] UKHL 7

HOUSE OF LORDS

Appellate Committee

Lord Bingham of Cornhill

Lord Hope of Craighead

Lord Scott of Foscote

Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood

Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury

Pilecki
(Appellant)
and
Circuit Court of Legnica, Poland
(Respondents) (Criminal Appeal from Her Majesty's High Court of Justice)

Appellants:

Hugo Keith

Clair Dobbin

(Instructed by Sonn Macmillan Walker)

Respondents:

David Perry QC

Annabel Darlow

(Instructed by Crown Prosecution Service)

LORD BINGHAM OF CORNHILL

My Lords,

1

For the reasons given by my noble and learned friend Lord Hope of Craighead, with which I agree, I would dismiss this appeal.

LORD HOPE OF CRAIGHEAD

My Lords,

2

In April 2007 two European arrest warrants were issued by the Circuit Court of Legnica for the extradition of the appellant to Poland. The decisions on which the warrants were based were orders by Judge Bartlomiej Treter for the appellant to be arrested for the purpose of serving custodial sentences which had been imposed on him by the District Court in Lubin after his conviction for various offences and which had become final. The validity of each warrant falls to be determined under Part 1 of the Extradition Act 2003. This is the measure by which the United Kingdom has transposed into national law the Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States (2002/548/JHA; OJ 2002 L 190, p1). Poland was designated as a category 1 territory pursuant to section 1 of the 2003 Act by the Extradition Act 2003 (Designation of Part 1 Territories) Order 2003 (SI 2003/3333) as amended by the Extradition Act 2003 (Amendment to Designations) Order 2004 (SI 2004/1898).

3

The warrants were in the form which the Framework Decision provides for a European arrest warrant. They were signed by Judge Treter as the issuing authority. They were accompanied by translations into English. As translated, they contain statements as to the amount of the penalty of deprivation of freedom that had been adjudged against the appellant and the amount of the penalty to be served. Article 2 of the Framework Decision provides that a European arrest warrant may be issued for sentences of at least four months. Section 2(6)(e) of the 2003 Act, as modified by art 2(2) and Schedule, para 1(1) of the Extradition Act 2003 (Multiple Offences) Order 2003 (SI 2003/3150) ("the Multiple Offences Order 2003"), provides that, if it is to satisfy the requirements of a Part 1 warrant where the person in respect of whom it is issued is alleged to be unlawfully at large after conviction of offences, the arrest warrant must contain particulars of the sentence which has been imposed under the law of the category 1 territory in respect of the offences, if the person has been sentenced for the offences. In each warrant the length of the custodial sentence imposed on the appellant for the offences was said to be more than four months, as was the remaining sentence to be served by him.

4

On the face of the arrest warrants, the requirement which section 2(6)(e) of the 2003 Act sets out was satisfied. But on 22 June 2007 the Circuit Court of Legnica provided further information about the sentences which had been imposed on the appellant for the offences of which he had been convicted by the District Court in Lubin. This information showed that the situation was not as simple as it might have been thought to have been on reading the arrest warrants. The appellant had received a variety of sentences for each of the offences of which he had been convicted. Some of those sentences were for periods of less than four months and some of them were for longer periods. The court had aggregated those sentences for the purposes of its final judgment. In each case the aggregated sentence was more than four months. But the combined punishment was less than the sum of the individual sentences for each offence. It was not possible to say how much of the aggregated sentence was attributable to each offence.

5

The short but important question on this appeal is whether, for the purposes of Part 1 of the 2003 Act, it has to be shown that the sentence that was imposed in respect of each offence, taken on its own, was at least four months or whether it is sufficient, where the person has been convicted of several offences and an aggregated sentence has been imposed on him, that the aggregated sentence was for four months or a greater period.

The facts

6

The first of the two arrest warrants, referred to as European arrest warrant number 56/07, was issued on 18 April 2007. It referred to Case II K 486/05 and stated that it was based on a judgment of the District Court of Lubin of 26 July 2005. The appellant was said to have been convicted of three separate offences. First, he was said to have been concerned in the supply of marijuana to a minor on three occasions between November 2004 and December 2004. Secondly, he was said to have supplied marijuana to another minor on two occasions between October 2004 and December 2004. Thirdly he was said, acting together with the minors, to have stolen trade marks, or emblems, and other body parts from nineteen motor vehicles between October 2004 and January 2005. He had been sentenced to a total penalty of one year and two months deprivation of freedom for these offences, with a conditional stay of its execution for a period of probation of three years. On 19 April 2006, following a breach by the appellant of the conditions of his probation, the court ordered the execution of his conditionally stayed penalty, offset by two days detention which he had served when he was first taken into custody. In the result the amount of the penalty remaining to be served by him was one year, one month and twenty eight days deprivation of freedom.

7

In the further information that was provided on 22 June 2007 it was stated that the appellant had been sentenced to a penalty of three months deprivation of freedom for the first offence, to a penalty of five months for the second offence and to a penalty of one year for the third. The court had then aggregated these penalties and imposed a combined punishment of one year and two months deprivation of freedom with a conditional stay of its execution for a probation period of three years. In this case the sentences that were judged appropriate for the second and third offences were in excess of four months. But the aggregated penalty of one year and two months deprivation of liberty was less than the total of the three sentences taken individually, which amounted to one year and eight months.

8

The second arrest warrant, referred to as European arrest warrant number 60/07, was issued on 13 April 2007. It referred to Case II K 1439/05 and stated that it was based on a judgment of the District Court of Lubin of 22 February 2006. In this warrant the appellant was said to have been convicted of four separate offences. In the first case he was said, acting together with another named person, to have stolen a mobile phone on 3 September 2005 and to have demanded money from its owner in exchange for it the next day. The second, third and fourth offences were all said to have taken place on 3 September 2005. On each of these occasions he was said to have supplied marijuana to a minor, one of whom was the person with whom he was said to have been acting when he committed the first offence.

9

In the further information that was provided on 22 June 2007 it was stated that the appellant had been sentenced to a penalty of six months deprivation of freedom for the first offence and to a penalty of three months deprivation of freedom for each of the other three offences. The court then aggregated these penalties and imposed a combined punishment of one year's deprivation of freedom with a conditional stay of execution for a probation period of three years. In this case the sentence that was judged appropriate for the first offence was in excess of four months. But the aggregated penalty of one year's deprivation of liberty was less than the total of the four sentences taken individually, which amounted to one year and three months.

10

On 9 July 2007 District Judge Purdy made an order for the appellant's extradition to Poland in respect of each of the two European arrest warrants. Each order was made with reference to the matters which he was required to determine by sections 10, 11 and 21 of the 2003 Act. It contained the following statements:

"I am satisfied that the offence specified in the Part 1 warrant is an extradition offence.

I am satisfied that the person's extradition is not barred within the meaning of the Extradition Act 2003 and that his extradition would be compatible with the Convention rights within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998."

11

The appellant appealed to the High Court against these orders under section 26 of the 2003 Act. Two points were taken on the appeal. The first was that neither of the arrest warrants complied with the requirement in section 2(6)(e) of the 2003 Act that particulars must be given of the sentence that was imposed for the offence under the law of the category 1 territory. The second point, which is no longer in issue, was whether the District Judge was entitled to decide that the appellant had deliberately absented himself at his trial, as he was required to do by section 20(3). On 31 July 2007 the Divisional Court (Leveson LJ and Stanley Burnton J) held that in both respects the requirements of the 2003 Act had been satisfied and dismissed the appeal. The following question was certified as involving a point of general public importance:

"Does section 65(3)(c) of the Extradition Act 2003 require it to be shown that:

(a) a final sentence of imprisonment of four months or greater was...

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