Extradition Fears over EU Database Agreement

Article excerpt

Byline: James Slack

BRITONS could find themselves forced to prove they are innocent of crimes abroad after the Government agreed to EU-wide access to its 'Big Brother' databases.

All 26 other member countries will be able to check against sensitive personal information held on driver registration, DNA and fingerprint computer systems.

Where there is a match, a suspect could be extradited to face trial abroad or - at the least - be forced to explain their movements or provide an alibi.

Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve warned last night: 'There is a real risk that a disproportionate number of innocent British citizens will be sucked into foreign criminal investigations.' The nightmare scenario for a British citizen is a false fingerprint, DNA or number plate match linking them to a rape, murder or other serious crime.

They could be dragged into a lengthy legal battle. The agreement is backed by the European arrest warrant, which provides speedy extradition.

Mr Grieve said people could even be arrested in Britain for something which is not a criminal offence or be whisked away to face punishment abroad after being tried in their absence, In a speech today, he will say: 'It is a fundamental principle of British justice that if you are accused of a serious criminal offence, you get your day in court. …