Proceeds of Crime Bill

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Mr. Foulkes: I think that we have exhausted that topic.

Mr. Johnson rose—

The Chairman: I call the hon. Member for Henley. I shall be intrigued to see how he keeps his comments in order.

Mr. Johnson: I am grateful to the Minister for giving way to me—and for promoting my book in this distinguished Committee. It is available at £14.99, but I shall offer it to the Minister as a Christmas present if he can explain, in simple English, what subsection (3) means, why it is there, and why he now proposes to remove it. If he can do that in two succinct paragraphs—

The Chairman: Order. I hope that the hon. Gentleman was not implying that the Committee is available for £14.99.

Mr. Foulkes: The hon. Member for Henley is offering a tremendous incentive, but I am afraid that I am going to fail the test, so I shall have to find £14.99 and buy a copy of the book. I hope that he will sign it, none the less.

My spies—the people who have been pursuing the matter on my behalf—tell me that subsections (3) and (4) have been included because they were in previous Scottish legislation, and for no other reason, whereas clause 81 follows previous English legislation. We should delete the two subsections, but, in the spirit of Christmas, I shall make an offer to the hon. Member for Beaconsfield: I shall revisit the matter as part of our reconsideration of how to deal with gifts, which we promised when we were discussing part 2.

Mr. Grieve: I am grateful to the Minister. That is all I wanted. When he does that, will he ask his officials what subsections (3) and (4) were designed to achieve? Will he let me, and even my hon. Friend the Member for Henley, know the answer? My hon. Friend might then repent, and decide to give him the book after all.

Mr. Johnson: Or include him in my next book.

Mr. Grieve: If he told us, it would also be helpful if we are to consider how to improve this part of the Bill.

Mr. Foulkes: Now I really have an incentive. What kind of books does the hon. Member for Henley write? I would like to know before I appear in them. We need to resolve this mystery. I would find it interesting to do so, as would the hon. Member for Beaconsfield and some of our officials. Let us see if we can find out, and I shall enlighten the Committee in writing, or orally on a subsequent occasion.

Mr. Hawkins: When the Minister was musing about what sort of book my hon. Friend writes, it occurred to me that, as my hon. Friend's excellent tome was called ''Friends, Voters and Countrymen'' the next one should be called ''Ministers, Officials and Committee Members''.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 147, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 148 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 149

Realisable property

Mr. Foulkes: I beg to move amendment No. 259, in page 90, line 9, leave out subsection (2).

With some trepidation, I say to the Committee that the amendment is designed to simplify the definition of realisable property and brings it into line with that to be used for England and Wales in clause 83.

Mr. Grieve: That may be so. However, the removal of subsection (2) will, again, widen the definition of realisable property. In particular, it will enable the clause to bite on property held in trust by the accused or the recipient of a tainted gift. Again, I do not expect the Minister to be in a position to enlighten the Committee further now, but this seems to be another area in which Scots law was different and provided a greater degree of protection. It would therefore be useful to know what the provision was designed to achieve, as, unless I am mistaken, it does not appear in the English section. I think that it was designed to protect certain interests held in trust. I presume that there was thought to be a good reason for doing that in Scots law—I see that a note is being passed to the Minister.

Mr. Hawkins: Before the Minister responds, I have a separate point to make in relation to what my hon. Friend has just said. Clearly, the Minister intends to be helpful in trying to make the Scottish provisions mirror the English provisions. I see immediately that getting rid of subsection (2) will make the provisions of the clause exactly the same as those of clause 83. However, subsection (2)(b) refers back to what previously existed under part 2 of the Bill, and I am concerned about getting rid of it. Are the Minister's officials confident that we are simply bringing Scots law into line with English law? I fear that we might be losing a helpful reference back, because subsection (2)(b) refers to all of part 2, and to how the clause relates to restraint orders. It might be sensible to get rid of subsection (2)(a), but is the Minister confident that we would not lose something useful if we lost paragraph (b)?

4.45 pm

Mr. Foulkes: I will start by making a general point with regard to the concerns of the hon. Member for Beaconsfield about the integrity of Scots law. That has been taken into account. Officials from the Scottish Executive Justice Department and the Crown Office have been involved, with Home Office officials, in the drafting of the amendments.

I wish to pay tribute to all of them. They have worked hard. The amendments have been drafted and tabled, and the notes have been provided—as Committee members have noticed—for my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary and myself very quickly, after the Government decided to alter part 3.

I can answer a question asked by the hon. Member for Beaconsfield by saying that where property is held in trust, someone else will have an interest, and people with interests are safeguarded elsewhere in the Bill. The hon. Member for Surrey Heath asked, in relation to the point that he raised, whether we are confident. We are confident.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 149, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 150

Property: general provisions

Mr. Foulkes: I beg to move amendment No. 260, in page 90, line 31, leave out paragraph (f) and insert—

    '(f) references to an interest, in relation to land in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, are to any legal estate or equitable interest or power;

    (g) references to an interest, in relation to land in Scotland, are to any estate, interest, servitude or other heritable right in or over land, including a heritable security;

    references to an interest, in relation to property other than land, include references to a right (including a right to possession).'.

The Chairman: With this we may discuss clause stand part.

Mr. Foulkes: The amendment expands on, and clarifies, what is meant by references to an interest, in relation to land, and other property. It mirrors what is contained in clause 84 for England and Wales. Therefore, it achieves consistency on both sides of the border.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 150, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 151 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 152

Applications

Amendments made: No. 261, in page 91, line 29, after 'satisfied', insert 'or discharged'.

No. 262, in page 91, line 32, leave out 'person who made the application' and insert

    'prosecutor'.—[Mr. Foulkes.]

Clause 152, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 153 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 154

Drug trafficking offences

Mr. Foulkes: I beg to move amendment No. 263, in page 92, line 19, leave out paragraph (b).

The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to take the following: Government amendment No. 264.

Clause stand part.

Mr. Foulkes: These are technical amendments. Amendment No. 263 deletes the reference in subsection (3)(b) to section 14 of the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990, as the Bill repeals section 14.

Amendment No. 264 deletes, in effect, subsection (4)(a), and subsection (4)(b), since the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 is being repealed, and replaced by the new provisions on money laundering in the Bill. The new insertion is a consequential drafting replacement for subsection (4)(c).

Mr. Hawkins: I am not challenging the Minister's explanation, but I am not sure whether I understood him correctly. Perhaps I did not catch what he was saying. I understand that under amendment No. 264, the Government are removing the reference to the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 that will be repealed when the Bill is enacted. However, I did not understand his reference to amendment 263, which would leave out subsection (3)(b). Is he saying that the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990 will be repealed by different legislation?

Mr. Foulkes: Amendment No. 263 deletes the reference in subsection (3)(b) to section 14 of the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990, because the Bill repeals that section.

Mr. Hawkins: I am grateful to the Minister. Only section 14 of that Act will be repealed by the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 264, in page 92, line 23, leave out subsection (4) and insert—

    '(4) An offence of conspiring, inciting or attempting to commit an offence falling within subsections (1) to (3) is a drug trafficking offence.'.—[Mr. Foulkes.]

Clause 154, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 155 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 156

Other interpretative provisions

Amendments made: No. 265, in page 92, line 44, leave out '(11)' and insert '(12)'.

No. 266, in page 93, line 8, leave out '(10)' and insert '(11)'.

Clause 156, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 157

Rules of court

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Grieve: In a spirit of slight frivolity, may I say how good it is to see the rules of court in Scotland using Latin terminology. Since the Woolf reforms south of the border, they have been completely abolished here. To see a nice archaism is extremely pleasant. I can only say that because the hon. Member for Glasgow, Pollok is not in Committee. If I had mentioned it in his presence, he would have tried to eradicate it.

 
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