Draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Continuance of Part VII) Order 2002

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Jane Kennedy: The Opposition are making a double-barrelled attack. The hon. Member for Reigate approached the subject in the same thoughtful, probing way as the hon. Member for Grantham and Stamford.

I can deal quickly with the issue of video recording. I remember being shown the new holding suite at Lisburn, where terrorist detainees are taken. Sophisticated equipment there includes video recording equipment. I did wonder whether we had missed something, but we have allowed video recording with sound, whereas section 100 of the Terrorism Act applies to the introduction of silent video recordings. We have gone one step further. I hope that that is a welcome answer to the hon. Member for Reigate.

I shall carefully consider of the comments of the hon. Member for Reigate. He urges us to adopt a timetabled approach, but I would treat that suggestion with a great deal of caution. Those paramilitary organisations that remain in possession of illegal weapons have a responsibility under the Good Friday agreement to offer them up voluntarily. The parties and signatures to the agreement have a responsibility to use their influence to bring about that decommissioning. That obligation is separate from the obligations placed on the Government under

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the Good Friday or Belfast agreements—or under any other agreements that we might make.

The hon. Gentleman asked about sentencing and the remission of sentences. I shall think carefully about what he said. I understand that all those prisoners who are entitled or eligible to be released early have already been released. Any who are found to be in breach of their release conditions will be subject to recall, but it will be done on a case-by-case basis. That is the proper way to do it, but I shall consider what the hon. Gentleman says. I shall consider his strong recommendation that we bring forward a more sophisticated order next year.

Lembit Öpik: I am being a little cheeky in intervening now, but I was not able to make a speech. The Committee is discussing a report by my predecessor, who will burn me alive if I do not ask two brief questions.

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First, is the Minister sympathetic to Lord Carlile's suggestion that the independent reviewer should have wider access and more publicity in Northern Ireland, so that he can gain information from members of the public? Secondly, what does the Minister think of Lord Carlile's recommendation that the PACE standards on the admissibility of evidence should be extended—in other words, that section 76 of the Terrorism Act 2000 should be repealed?

Jane Kennedy: The answer to both questions is yes. I hope that we can discuss the other issues in greater detail later.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

    That the Committee has considered the draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Continuance of Part VII) Order 2002.

Committee rose at half-past Five o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Beard, Mr. Nigel (Chairman)
Banks, Mr.
Blunt, Mr.
Buck, Ms
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Fisher, Mr.
Francois, Mr.
Hoyle, Mr.
Kennedy, Jane
McIsaac, Shona
Öpik, Lembit
Purnell, James
Salter, Mr.
Stringer, Mr.
Turner, Mr. Andrew

 
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Prepared 11 February 2002