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COMMONS AMENDMENT

43

Clause 13, page 9, line 5, at end insert--


'(aa) proceedings to deal with a contempt of court under section (Confidentiality: contravention);'.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 43. I should like to speak also to Amendments Nos. 44 to 49.

These amendments are consequential on the new clauses which relate to representations by third parties at disclosure hearings, confidentiality of unused material, and disclosure time limits. They provide for rules of court to be made governing the practice and procedure for applications to the court under these new clauses and the resulting court orders.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 43.--(Baroness Blatch.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENTS

44

Clause 13, page 9, line 6, leave out 'or 12(4)' and insert ',12(4), (Applications: opportunity to be heard)(b), (Confidentiality of disclosed information)(4) or (6)(b) or (Confidentiality: contravention)(6)'.


45

Page 9, line 7, at end insert--


'(aa) an application under regulations made under section (Time limits);'.
46

Page 9, line 8, leave out '11(3)' and insert '3(6), 7(5), 8(2) or (5), 9(8), 11(3), (Confidentiality of disclosed information)(4) or (Confidentiality: contravention)(4) or (7)'.


47

Page 9, line 10, at end insert--


'(d) an order under regulations made under section (Time limits).'
48

Page 9, line 10, at end insert--


'(2A) Rules made under section 144 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 by virtue of subsection (2)(aa) above may contain or include provision equivalent to Schedule 3 to the Contempt of Court Act 1981 (proceedings for disobeying magistrates' court order) with any modifications which the Lord Chancellor considers appropriate on the advice of or after consultation with the rule committee for magistrates' courts.
(2B) Rules made by virtue of subsection (2)(a) in relation to an application under section (Confidentiality of disclosed information)(4) may include provision--
(a) that an application to a magistrates' court must be made to a particular magistrates' court;
(b) that an application to the Crown Court must be made to the Crown Court sitting at a particular place;
(c) requiring persons to be notified of an application.'
49

Page 9, line 11, leave out 'subsection (1)' and insert 'this section'.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 44 to 49 en bloc.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 44 to 49.--(Baroness Blatch.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

26 Jun 1996 : Column 963

COMMONS AMENDMENTS

50

Clause 15, page 10, line 12, at end insert--


'(ab) the accused is committed for trial (where this Part applies by virtue of section 1(2)(aa))'.
51

Page 10, line 14, after '(a)' insert 'or (ab)'.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 50 and 51 en bloc.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 50 and 51.--(Baroness Blatch.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

52

Clause 17, page 10, line 35, at end insert--


'(aa) that where a criminal investigation is conducted all reasonable steps are taken for the purposes of the investigation and, in particular, all reasonable lines of inquiry are pursued;'.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 52. I should like to speak also to Amendments Nos. 53 to 57.

Amendment No. 52 ensures that the code of practice to be prepared under Part II of the Bill must require an investigator to take all reasonable steps for the purposes of a criminal investigation and in particular must pursue all reasonable lines of inquiry.

This amendment arises from the Government's response to Chapter K5 of the Scott Report, which is concerned with prosecution procedures. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced the Government's response in a Written Answer on Thursday 6th June and in a more detailed paper which was placed in the Library of the House.

The Scott Report made eight recommendations about prosecution procedures. These were directed at what Sir Richard perceived as a failure to gather relevant material, confusion over what inquiries had been made, and failures in disclosure. His recommendations were based on existing law and he recognised that they needed to be considered against the provisions of this Bill.

The Bill and the code partly address Sir Richard's concerns by providing for a clear audit trail whenever requests for documents elicit items which may be relevant to the investigation, and by imposing specific new disclosure duties on the prosecutor and the accused which are designed to clarify the issues in dispute. But something more is needed. We think that the code of practice should require the investigator to pursue all reasonable lines of inquiry in a criminal investigation, whether these point towards or away from the suspect. This should help to ensure that relevant material is not overlooked. It also provides statutory backing for what is already regarded as good investigative practice.

I turn now to Amendments Nos. 53 to 55. One of the matters which the code of practice must be designed to secure in Clause 17(1)(e) is that where the prosecutor inspects material held by the police and he asks them to disclose it to the accused the accused is allowed to

26 Jun 1996 : Column 964

inspect it or is given a copy. This provision prevents the police disclosing material to the accused which the prosecutor has not inspected. But in cases involving a large volume of material it may be in everyone's interest to allow such disclosure. For example, the police may have obtained 1,000 very similar invoices, and it may be clear to the prosecutor from inspecting 50 of them that all of them ought to be disclosed to the accused. Amendments Nos. 53 and 54 make this possible. Amendment No. 55 is consequential.

I turn finally to Amendments Nos. 56 and 57. The effect of Clauses 18(2) and 18(3) is that all material retained by the police in the course of a criminal investigation must be described on either a sensitive or a non-sensitive schedule and that schedule is given to the prosecutor. Amendment No. 56 is designed to protect exceptionally sensitive material such as a list of the names and addresses of a number of police informants. Current police practice is not to describe such material on the sensitive schedule but to tell the prosecutor about it and invite him or her to inspect it. The amendment ensures that the code can reflect current practice and, in particular, that the prosecutor must be told of the material and invited to inspect it. Amendment No. 57 ensures that matters prescribed under Clause 18 are prescribed under the code. There is an identical provision in Clause 17(8).

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 52.--(Baroness Blatch.)

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I believe Amendment No. 52 to be of great value, reinforced as it is by the Minister's indication that all reasonable lines of inquiry embrace those which may point to an acquittal. This is an extremely valuable amendment, and I welcome it.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENTS

53

Clause 17, page 11, line 3, leave out from 'where' to 'and' in line 4 and insert 'such a person inspects information or other material in pursuance of a requirement that it be revealed to him,'.


54

Page 11, line 6, at end insert--


'(ee) that where such a person is given a document indicating the nature of information or other material in pursuance of a requirement that it be revealed to him, and he requests that it be disclosed to the accused, the accused is allowed to inspect it or is given a copy of it;'.
55

Page 11, line 11, after '(e)' insert 'or (ee)'.


56

Clause 18, page 12, line 41, at end insert--


'(6A) The code may provide that if the person required to reveal material has possession of material which he believes is sensitive and of such a nature that provision contained in the code by virtue of subsection (2) should not apply with regard to it--
(a) that provision shall not apply with regard to the material,
(b) he must notify a person identified in accordance with prescribed provisions of the existence of the material, and
(c) he must allow the person so notified to inspect the material.'

26 Jun 1996 : Column 965


57

Page 12, line 43, at end insert--


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