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Notice given 3 March 2011

*414  Senator Boyce: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Justice—

(1) When the Minister decided on 12 November 2009 that Mr Charles Zentai be extradited to the Republic of Hungary, was the Minister aware of any of the following information that had been provided to the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department and the Minister’s office:

(a) that the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) had advised the Australian Federal Police (AFP) that there was no evidence to support a charge against Mr Zentai of a war crime (or any other crime);

(b) that the DPP and the AFP had therefore decided not to prosecute Mr Zentai for the alleged war crime, although if there had been sufficient evidence to support a charge, (which there was not) it would have been open to the Australian authorities to charge Mr Zentai and have him tried in Australia, rather than extradite him;

(c) that the Republic of Hungary only wanted Mr Zentai to be extradited to Hungary for interrogation, as no charge has been laid against him.

(2) If the Minister was aware of all or any of that information:

(a) what information was he aware of; and

(b) did he give consideration to it before making his extradition determination; if so, what were his reasons for deciding that an Australian citizen, Mr Zentai, be extradited to Hungary.


 (3) If the Minister was not aware of any or some of that information before he made the decision to extradite Mr Zentai, was he made aware of it after the decision of Federal Court Justice McKerracher in December 2010; if so, why did the Minister authorise an appeal against Justice McKerracher’s decision that had set aside the Minister’s determination to extradite Mr Zentai.

(4) Has the Minister ever suggested to the Hungarian authorities that they conduct their ‘investigation’ and/or ‘interrogation’ of Mr Zentai in Australia; if so, what was the Republic of Hungary’s response; if not, why has the Minister not made that suggestion to the Republic of Hungary, having regard to the age and health of Mr Zentai, the fact that the Hungarian authorities have said they only want him for interrogation and the fact that Mr Zentai has stated that he is prepared to cooperate with investigators and is prepared to answer questions on oath.

(5) To date:

(a) what has been the total cost to the Commonwealth Government (including departmental personnel time and cost) in seeking to extradite Mr Zentai; and

(b) what is the estimated further cost of pursuing the appeal against the decision of Justice McKerracher.