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Sir Nicholas Lyell (North-East Bedfordshire): I believe that that provision will be deleted under Government amendment No. 46, but does not that raise the further issue of whether someone can be immediately rearrested on another allegation?

Mr. Hughes: The right hon. and learned Gentleman is correct that the provision will be deleted under Government amendment No. 46, but that does not answer his question. It is not clear whether people could be detained under the provision and miss the ferries, planes, trains or coaches that would have taken them to whichever match they wanted to attend, effectively vitiating the purpose of the journey. Even if police officers then decide, in whatever time is allowed to make such a decision, that it was wrong to stop those people and that they should be let go, they could decide to rearrest them because of new information, a hunch, a new idea or speculation. That would be nonsense, and we should not have such legislation.

I am conscious of the time, so I shall deal with the other amendments in the group. I have dealt with amendment No. 28, tabled by the right hon. and learned Member for North-East Bedfordshire.

7.15 pm

Mr. Hancock: Before my hon. Friend moves on, can he explain what he understands to be the position of someone who has been detained, but is released by the police before the magistrates court hearing? Will that person be entitled to ask the policeman to put in writing the reasons why he was originally detained and to ask the arresting officer to put in writing the reasons why the case has not been pursued? If not, why not?

Mr. Hughes: The answer to my hon. Friend's perfectly good question is no. The Bill does not require the person who is stopped to be given notice in writing. That

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requirement would be added under an amendment. Certainly, it is proposed that people should be given the reasons for their detention within 24 hours, but they would not necessarily know those reasons at the outset. The police officers will not have to give any reason explicitly; they will just have to form a view. That is a dangerous and broad provision.

Mr. Hancock: Would the police officer have to tell people why they have changed their minds and on what evidence they have based their decision not to pursue the matter?

Mr. Hughes: The more questions my hon. Friend asks, the more likely I am to be caught out. I think that the answer is no. The Home Secretary has accepted that an Opposition amendment is good in principle. Under that amendment, there would be a right to compensation if someone were unlawfully stopped, detained and arrested. We would support that proposal. However, to challenge such decisions, people need to know the reasons why they were made, although they might be compensated if they were given no reason and then released, especially if they had missed their planes or whatever. My hon. Friend's sensible questions show exactly that the Bill is nonsense.

I shall allude to two more dangerous provisions. First, to trigger the process, the coppers involved have to decide whether the person in front of them has at any time in their lives caused or contributed to any violence or disorder in the United Kingdom or elsewhere. People need not have been convicted, shown to be likely to have been convicted, or convicted if they had been tried here for an offence that occurred abroad. The test simply involves the policeman deciding whether someone has caused or contributed to any violence or disorder, and then only on the balance of probabilities.

The First Deputy Chairman: Order. I ask the hon. Gentleman to address the Chair.

Mr. Hughes: I beg your pardon, Mr. Martin. I was trying to deal with my hon. Friend, but I accept what you say.

There is a second trigger. People must fulfil not only that very general requirement, which has never been seen before in English law. I stand to be corrected by more learned lawyers than me. The copper has to fulfil a second test, which the court has to fulfil later, and show that, after the 24-hour detention, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the banning order would help to prevent violence or disorder from occurring at or in connection with any regulated football match. That extremely wide provision should not be included if we want the law to be clearly interpreted by the citizen--our constituents, who may make representations about it--as well as the state.

Mr. Robert Marshall-Andrews (Medway): The hon. Gentleman raises the issue of the police officer's state of mind, namely, that he should have "reasonable grounds to believe", which is of course incorporated in Government amendment No. 42--the compromise amendment. For the benefit of those of us on the Labour Benches who will support the hon. Gentleman's amendment relating to

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reasonable grounds, would he like to reflect on whether those reasonable grounds will be objective or subjective, given that the Bill is silent on that matter?

Mr. Hughes: In the words, I think, of Edward Lear, I was coming to that; I was about to turn to the Government amendments. The hon. and learned Gentleman is right that the Bill is silent on the matter. Under Government amendment No. 42, which is supposed to improve the Bill, but which is difficult to justify, the constable in uniform must have reasonable grounds to suspect that the first condition has been met--that is, someone has a history of violence.

Furthermore, he will have to have reasonable grounds not for suspecting, but for believing that a banning order should be made. Imagine a group of lay magistrates deciding at short notice whether a succession of people appearing before them as speedily as prostitutes appear before the magistrate at King's Cross on Monday mornings--[Interruption.] I think that someone on the Conservative Benches said, "Oh happy days," but I may be wrong. Perhaps experience that I had not anticipated being discussed will be brought to light. [Interruption.] Indeed, some of those on the Conservative Benches are not even lawyers.

Magistrates would have to judge individuals on their merits with no guidance and according to those two criteria because they would have to decide there and then, and on the balance of probabilities, whether to make a banning order which would stop a person travelling. Magistrates would not even have to be certain. That represents a huge intrusion on civil liberties. The Bill, even with the amendments, would be impossible to interpret properly and fairly in terms of logical drafting, sensible English and dealing with the issues in a logical order.

Mr. Desmond Browne (Kilmarnock and Loudoun): I return to what the hon. Gentleman has described as a conversation we had on Second Reading on that issue. I happen to agree about the need to clarify the reasons for detention and when detention can be repeated, but I part company with him when he describes the power of summary detention as a constitutional innovation. Police officers in Scotland have enjoyed the power summarily to detain in all police investigations since 1980, when it was introduced by the Conservative Government. Similar legislation--the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995--was introduced subsequently. I venture to suggest that the hon. Gentleman voted for it, although I am not certain. More interestingly, I understand that the hon. and learned Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace), the Minister for Justice in Scotland, has no intention of changing those powers, because of their constitutional implications.

Mr. Hughes: The hon. Gentleman properly reminds us of his intervention on Thursday. To be honest, I have not had the chance to read the Scottish legislation. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace), to whom I have spoken about the Bill, is responsible for those matters in Scotland. Even the hon. Gentleman would concede that my hon. and learned Friend has been busy in the past year introducing lots of

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good, reforming legislation. He may have it in mind to change those powers, but all I know is that, as the Home Secretary rightly said, the proposal has not been adopted by the Scottish Executive or by my hon. and learned Friend, as acting First Minister. [Interruption.] Nor has the Bill. In fairness to my hon. and learned Friend, I cannot say whether he has it in mind to change the law.

Mr. Browne rose--

Mr. Hughes: Let me deal with the hon. Gentleman's substantive point before he intervenes again. Scottish law and English and Welsh law have allowed both the power of detention and the power of detention for a particular purpose, but I think I am right to say that there has never been a power of detention in the absence of a previous conviction or the belief than an offence has been or is about to be committed. Under the Bill, the whole process could be gone through and a ban introduced without an offence having been committed and no view being formed that a person would ever commit an offence. That is mischief. Surely the hon. Gentleman does not accept it as good law.

Mr. Browne: I want to engage the hon. Gentleman on his contention that summary detention is a matter of great constitutional significance in the United Kingdom. In fact, it has been the norm since 1980 and was legislated for in Scotland by this Parliament. In Scotland, it is possible for a police officer with reasonable cause to suspect that an offence may have been committed to detain a person. It is possible--[Interruption.] Wait a minute. A detainee may breach the terms of the detention and accumulate a criminal record, although no offence was ever committed.


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