Common Law Essay

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------------------------------------------------- Powers of search and seizure FEATURE | 14 June 2002 In R (Rottman) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2002] UKHL 20; The Times, 21 May 2002, the House of Lords considered the appeal of the Commissioner of Police against a Divisional Court decision on the powers of search and seizure. The question certified by the Divisional Court was: “At common law, does a police officer executing a warrant of arrest issued pursuant to s 8 of the Extradition Act 1989 have power to search for and seize any goods or documents which he reasonably believes to be material evidence in relation to the extradition crime in respect of which the warrant was issued?” Background The respondent, Mr Rottman, was a German businessman. A German court issued a warrant for his arrest on 27 December 1996. The warrant alleged he had committed fraud in Germany. On 13 September 2000 the Metropolitan Police received a request from the German authorities, via Interpol, for Rottman’s extradition to Germany. His precise whereabouts within England at the time were unknown. On 22 September 2000 a provisional warrant for his arrest was issued by Bow Street magistrates’ court under s 8 (1) of the Extradition Act 1989. Following a surveillance operation, the police followed Rottman to his home where he was arrested pursuant to the warrant in the driveway of the house, a few yards from the front door. Soon after Rottman’s arrest, two German police officers arrived at the premises, successfully obtained the permission of the senior Metropolitan police officer present to search the house, and carried out a search of the house, during which they seized a number of articles which they took to New Scotland Yard. History of the legal proceedingsRottman brought an application for judicial review against the appellant (the Commissioner) and the Home Secretary

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