English Legal System
House of Lords
16th May 2002
Lord Nichols of Birkenhead, Lord Hoffman
Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Hutton and Lord Rodger of Earlsferry
The powers of the police to search and seize property from private premises with an arrest warrant issued under S.8. of the Extradition Act 1989 . Whether the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 ss. 17, 18 and 19 or common law powers to search and seize extends to extradition cases when a Fugitive is arrested outside of his house.
The police on 27th December 1996 arrested the respondent, Mr. Rottman a few yards away from his house with an arrest warrant issued by the Bow street magistrate court under S.8 (1) of the Extradition Act 1989. Being a German fugitive who was alleged to have committed fraud offences, German authorities requested for his extradition when it was believed that he was residing in England. After arresting him, the police went on to enter his house, search and seize his property which they reasonably believed to be of evidential value to the extradition case for which he was arrested. The police believed they had the power under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1989 (PACE) and common law to search and seize the property of Mr. Rottman. Mr. Rottman sued the commissioner of police for the metropolis for unlawful search and seizure of his property and a violation of his Human Rights. It was held in the favour of Mr. Rottman by the divisional court.
Mr. Rottman, a suspected German fugitive sued the Commissioner of police of the Metropolis at the Divisional Court Queens Bench Division for unlawful entry and seizure of his property with an arrest warrant issued by a magistrate under the Extradition Act 1989. The court ruled in the favour of Mr. Rottman and the defendant appealed at the House of Lords.
In a four to one decision with Lord Hope dissenting, the court answered the question in the positive that,