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Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: A number of these amendments may not have come out of responses to representations of views expressed in this Chamber, but in the process of bringing together this Bill we have consulted widely throughout Scotland. A considerable

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proportion of the amendments follow on from the continuing consultation that we have had with senior members of the judiciary in Scotland. It is for that reason that we introduced them.

There is, I accept, another fairly large group of amendments. But, as I believe the noble Lord, Lord Macaulay, certainly understands, we wish to approach our changes here by consolidating from law procedure in Scotland once this Bill has completed its stages. A large number are pre-consolidation amendments. I certainly understand that, while it may be somewhat tedious for the Committee, this approach is welcomed by those who have the responsibility of putting the law into practice in Scotland.

Lord Harris of Greenwich: I understand the point about consolidation, and I do not want to go over the ground yet again. The only point that I would make is this. There is a great case to be made for formulating legislation after the consultation period. To have a running series of amendments as the noble and learned Lord suggests does not seem to me to be a sensible way of approaching the legislative process.

As the noble and learned Lord is aware, there have been constant complaints about the length of the sittings of this House. The only way in which we can begin to correct that is for government departments not to start putting down shoals of amendments to a Bill which should have been properly drafted in the first place.

Lord Macaulay of Bragar: Perhaps I may briefly intervene. I did not raise the point because I did not wish to set up any acrimony between this side of the Chamber and the Government because we have a particular objective in this area. However, I happened to stay down south this weekend. When I phoned home this morning I discovered that there is a letter from the Scottish Office lying there which contains all the government amendments. So this morning, at 11 or 12 o'clock, was the first opportunity that I have had to consider the additional government amendments.

It is completely unfair to the Committee that a mass of amendments should be added on because, apart from anything else we were allocated only two Committee days for the Bill, it being anticipated that today would sufficiently see off what was left at the end of the first day. Suddenly we are faced with the present long list of amendments, which may or may not, depending on the view of the Committee, involve a very late sitting tonight.

I appreciate what the noble and learned Lord the Minister said, but these amendments come rather late in the day and I take some convincing that the observations made by the noble Lord, Lord Harris, do not have some merit at this stage in the proceedings. The Bill must have been envisaged over a goodly period during the past year or year and a half. But we are stuck with them now. How far we proceed with the Bill tonight, remains to be seen.

10 p.m.

The Earl of Balfour: I want to add a short comment at this point. In this discussion I was immediately reminded of an occasion on which I had the privilege of

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meeting the parliamentary draftsman in connection with a housing Bill brought forward when my noble friend Lord Sanderson was Minister of State for Scotland. At that meeting I was fascinated to learn from the parliamentary draftsman that in a consolidation Bill he was not permitted to change a single word of the existing legislation.

If these amendments are in any way designed to simplify the law, even if they have been added at this stage, I am sure that it will be of benefit to all those who must understand the legislation when the Bill becomes an Act. That needs to be borne in mind. I certainly had a lesson on the occasion of that meeting.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 117:


Page 33, line 35, leave out ("on indictment") and insert ("in a complaint").

The noble and learned Lord said: In view of the previous discussion, perhaps I may say that this is a minor amendment to the new section to be inserted into that part of the 1975 Act which deals with summary procedures. The reference should be to criminal charges "in a complaint" rather than "on indictment". I am sure that the distinction is clear to the noble Lord, Lord Macaulay. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 118:


Page 34, line 2, at end insert:
("( ) Where it appears to the court that it is not practicable or appropriate for the accused to attend an examination of facts the court may, if no objection is taken by or on behalf of the accused, order that the examination of facts shall proceed in his absence.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 119:


Page 34, line 31, at end insert:
("( ) The court may, on the motion of the prosecutor and after hearing the accused, order that the examination of facts shall proceed in relation to a particular charge, or particular charges, in the complaint in priority to other such charges.").

The noble and learned Lord said: In speaking to Amendment No. 116, I spoke also to this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 41, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 42 [Disposal of case where accused found to be insane.]:

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 120:


Page 35, line 16, leave out from ("in") to ("specify") in line 18 and insert ("such hospital as the court may").

The noble and learned Lord said: In speaking to this amendment I shall speak also to Amendment No. 121.

Under present solemn procedures, where a person is found insane in bar of trial, the wording in Section 174, to which I previously referred, is that the person:

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    "shall be detained in a State hospital or such other hospital as for special reasons the court may specify".

The wording probably reflects the days when in respect only of those facing the most serious charges did proceedings reach that stage. I am not sure whether the wording that I quoted quite amounts to presumption in favour of detention in a state hospital, but it contrasts, for example, with the wording of Section 175 of the Act which governs the making of hospital orders in respect of convicted persons. There, the court may order detention in:


    "such hospital as may be specified in the order".

The preconditions for specifying the state hospital are clearly spelt out; that is, where the court is satisfied on the basis of medical evidence that an offender on account of his dangerous, violent and criminal propensities requires treatment under conditions of special security and cannot suitably be cared for in a hospital other than a state hospital. We are of the view that a more flexible formula would be appropriate. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 121:


Page 36, line 11, leave out from ("in") to ("specify") in line 13 and insert ("such hospital as the court may").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 122:


Page 36, line 28, leave out ("(3) to (6)") and insert ("(6) to (9)").

The noble and learned Lord said: This is a minor drafting amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 42, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 1 [Supervision and Treatment Orders: Schedule to be inserted in the 1975 Act]:

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 123:


Page 84, line 32, after ("officer") insert ("regarding his supervision").

The noble and learned Lord said: This is again a minor drafting amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 43 [Appeal by accused in case involving insanity]:

Lord Macaulay of Bragar moved Amendment No. 124:


Page 37, line 7, leave out ("seven") and insert ("21").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 124 is grouped with Amendments Nos. 125 to 127. They are basically the same amendment in different parts of the Bill and the aim behind them is to extend the time limits to be employed in appeals by accused persons involving the question of insanity.

The idea behind the amendment is not to impose too rigid a timetable. I know that the Minister at an earlier stage referred to the importance of running a tight ship in the administration of criminal justice. Bearing in

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mind the unanimity which I hope we all have in this area of the criminal justice system, perhaps the Government will consider that seven days is too tight a schedule in the circumstances with which solicitors and others may be faced when taking proper instructions from accused persons in these conditions. I beg to move.


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