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Clause 24

Terms of appointment of Attorney General


Amendment made: No. 139, in page 15, line 3, leave out from "time," to end of line 5.—[Mr. Browne.]

Clause 27

Annual report by Attorney General


Amendment made: No. 140, in page 17, line 1, after second "Minister" insert ", acting jointly,".—[Mr. Browne.]

Clause 36

Information for Director


Amendment made: No. 141, in page 21, line 37, leave out "District Judge (Magistrates" Courts)" and insert "resident magistrate".—[Mr. Browne.]

Clause 38

Code for Prosecutors


Amendment made: No. 142, in page 22, line 39, at end insert—

'(4A) In preparing or making alterations to a code the Director must be guided by the general principles of the Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors adopted at the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders held at Havana between 27th August and 7th September 1990.'.—[Mr. Browne.]

Clause 56

Custody care orders


Amendment made: No. 143, in page 42, line 22, at end insert—

'(4A) Where the court imposes a fine on the child under paragraph (3)(a) or (4)(a), it shall order that the fine be paid by the parent or guardian of the child instead of by the child, unless it is satisfied that there is good reason for not so doing.

(4B) A fine ordered under paragraph (4A) to be paid by a parent or guardian may be recovered from him by distress, or he may be imprisoned in default of payment, in like manner as if the order had been made on the conviction of the parent or guardian of the offence for which the custody care order was made.

(4C) A parent or guardian may appeal to a county court against an order under paragraph (4A).'.—[Mr. Browne.]

Clause 58

Diversionary youth conferences


Amendment made: No. 144, in page 48,, leave out lines 20 to 23.—[Mr. Browne.]

Clause 59

Court-ordered youth conferences


Amendments made: No. 145, in page 53, leave out lines 7 to 10.
No. 146, in page 53, leave out lines 11 to 13.
No. 147, in page 53, leave out line 16.
No. 148, in page 53, line 24, leave out from "unless" to end of line 26.—[Mr. Browne.]

4 Mar 2002 : Column 107

Schedule 10

Youth justice orders: enforcement etc.


Amendment made: No. 149, in page 103, line 25, leave out "District Judge (Magistrates" Courts)" and insert "resident magistrate".—[Mr. Browne.]

New Clause 2

Flying of flags at court-houses


'(1) In Article 3(1) of the Flags (Northern Ireland) Order 2000 (S.I. 2000/1347 (N.I. 3)) (power to make regulations about the flying of flags at government buildings), insert at the end "and court-houses".

(2) The Flags Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000 (S.R. 2000 No. 347) (which were made in the exercise of that power) apply in relation to court–houses as they apply in relation to the government buildings specified in Part 1 of the Schedule to the Regulations (but subject to any amendment which may be made to the Regulations in the further exercise of that power).'.—[Mr. Browne.]
Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

Clause 66

Display of Royal Arms at courts


Amendments made: No. 150, in page 58, line 12, at end insert—

'(1A) But subsection (1) does not prevent the display of the Royal Arms anywhere in—

(a) the courtrooms in the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast,

(b) the courtrooms in the Courthouse in Armagh,

(c) the courtroom in the Courthouse in Banbridge,

(d) Court No. 1 in the Courthouse in Downpatrick,

(e) the courtrooms in the Courthouse in Magherafelt, or

(f) the courtrooms in the Courthouse in Omagh,

where they were displayed immediately before the coming into force of this section.'.
No. 151, in page 58, line 13, leave out subsections (2) and (3).
No. 152, in page 58, line 25, leave out "not a new court-house" and insert—

'in use before the coming into force of this section'.—[Mr. Browne.]

Schedule 12

Minor and consequential amendments


Amendments made: No. 153, in page 113, leave out lines 16 to 18 and insert—

'(c) a fine imposed, or an order made, under Article 41(2) or 44F(3) or (4) of the Criminal Justice (Children) (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (NI 9);

(ca) an order made under Article 44C(3)(a) or 54(3)(a) of that Order;'.
No. 154, in page 120, line 36, at end insert—

'(2B) Where the court imposes a fine on the offender under paragraph (2)(a)—

(a) if he has not attained the age of 16, it shall order that the fine be paid by the parent or guardian of the child instead of by the child, unless it is satisfied that there is good reason for not so doing; and

(b) if he has attained that age but has not attained the age of 18, it may so order.

4 Mar 2002 : Column 108


(2C) A fine ordered under paragraph (2B) to be paid by a parent or guardian may be recovered from him by distress, or he may be imprisoned in default of payment, in like manner as if the order had been made on the conviction of the parent or guardian of the offence for which the juvenile justice centre order was made.

(2D) A parent or guardian may appeal to a county court against an order under paragraph (2B).".'.—[Mr. Browne.]

Schedule 13

Repeals and revocations


Amendments made: No. 155, in page 123, line 12, leave out "75(1) and (3)" and insert "75(3)".
No. 156, in page 123, line 33, at end insert—

'section 21(2) of the Treatment of Offenders Act (Northern Ireland) 1968,'.
No. 157, in page 123, line 41, at end insert—
'Interpretation Act 1978 (c. 30)
In Schedule 1, in the definition of "committed for trial", in paragraph (b), the words ", justice of the peace".'.

No. 158, in page 124, line 15, leave out ", in sub–paragraph".
No. 159, in page 124, line 17, leave out from "(3),"" to end of line 20.
No. 160, in page 124, line 47, at end insert—
'Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 (S.I. 1991/762 (N.I. 7))
In Article 8(5), paragraph (b) and the word "and" before it.'.

No. 161, in page 126, line 11, at end insert—
'Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/2789 (N.I. 8))
In Article 2(2), in the definition of "judge", the words "or justice of the peace".'.

No. 162, in page 126, line 18, at end insert—

'In section 89(3), the words "10(4) or".'.
[Mr. Browne.]

Clause 89

Statutory rules


Amendment made: No. 163, in page 70, line 13, after "section" insert "11(2B),".—[Mr. Browne.]

Clause 90

Extent


Amendment made: No. 164, in page 70, leave out line 25.—[Mr. Browne.]
Order for Third Reading read.

4 Mar 2002 : Column 109

9.13 pm

Dr. John Reid: I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Today's debates represent another important step in the process of modernising the criminal justice system and implementing the Belfast agreement. The criminal justice review is the last major feature of the agreement that it falls to the Government to implement. Once again, we have shown that we as a Government will fulfil our responsibilities in full.

The Belfast agreement represents a victory for the people of Northern Ireland. It is not always easy to implement. It requires a balance—a balance recognised earlier, very perceptively, by the right hon. Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer)—between recognition of the principle of consent on the constitutional status and recognition of diversity and parity of esteem. Both are enshrined in the Belfast agreement. No one got entirely what they wanted from the agreement, or from the unfolding of the agreement; but as a result of that historic agreement we have secured a functioning devolved Administration, and an enormous improvement in the social and security situation that has blighted Northern Ireland since the 1960s. None of us can afford to be complacent, but there has been a significant improvement.

The criminal justice review also holds out the prospect of improvements that benefit both sides in equal measure, I believe, and the whole community in great measure. The review made 294 recommendations over the whole range of activities in the criminal justice field. It was the most comprehensive look at the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland over the past 30 years. The review emerged during the course of negotiations on the Belfast agreement, but I believe that it reflected a somewhat deeper feeling that it was in any case time for a more fundamental review.

Once again, there are a small number of issues on which opinions are divided largely along community lines. Here we have needed and have tried to strike a careful balance between the two dimensions enshrined in the Belfast agreement, which I mentioned earlier. However, the overwhelming bulk of the review, and the Bill which implements it, has been widely welcomed. It is worth noting that despite all the differences that we have on a relatively small number of areas, the bulk of the review has been welcomed. Moreover, having read the Committee proceedings and discussed them with my hon. Friend the Under–Secretary, I think that it was, for the most part, an extremely constructive and positively conducted Committee stage.

The Bill has been welcomed outside the House by the practitioners in the criminal justice system, including those who work with children and victims. It has been welcomed by the parties which we hope will soon administer it and by the people of Northern Ireland more generally, particularly those who are interested in improvements to the criminal justice system.

In effect, the Bill is about putting Northern Ireland at the forefront of good practice in the United Kingdom and more widely. In some areas, learning from experience of other UK jurisdictions, the Bill implements in Northern Ireland reforms which have already been undertaken elsewhere in the UK. Other parts of the Bill will put Northern Ireland at the cutting edge of international practice.

4 Mar 2002 : Column 110

We have made a number of amendments today on Report. Many reflect important points that hon. Members made during earlier stages of the Bill. Once again, I think that the controversy surrounding some of the amendments should not distract us from the larger number that have been generally welcomed. However, there have been, and remain, areas of controversy.

On symbols, we made amendments to reflect our assessment of a reasonable balance in this controversial area. The review identified an important distinction between the outside of courthouses and the inside of courtrooms. It saw the need to strike a balance between recognising the courts' position within the agreed constitutional framework in Northern Ireland and ensuring an atmosphere within courtrooms with which all the people of Northern Ireland could be comfortable. Once again, the wisdom of Solomon was required in trying to balance those two aspects emanating from the Belfast agreement.


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