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The Lord Advocate (Lord Hardie): The Procurator Fiscal at Stirling has confirmed with Central Scotland Police that the items to which my noble friend refers were in fact returned to Callander Rifle and Pistol Club on 4 and 8 February 1997.
Lord Hardie: The recent decision regarding the prosecution of those who refuse to pay tolls on the Skye bridge was taken in light of the exceptional circumstances prevailing there. It is not in the interests of justice to treat these cases differently from others by prosecuting each and every offence. In future, the question of prosecution will be left to the discretion of the procurator fiscal. Decisions whether to prosecute those who refuse to pay tolls when crossing the Erskine, Forth and Tay bridges will continue to be considered by procurators fiscal based on the facts and circumstances of each case.
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The Government have no such plans. The Government will await the recommendations of a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament on Parliamentary Privilege and related matters which is in the course of being established under the chairmanship of Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead.
The Lord Chancellor: I personally favour the extension of the availability of conditional fees into more areas of litigation and I am currently considering the scope for extending conditional fees. I hope to be in a position to make an announcement in the autumn. I will give careful consideration to the noble Lord's suggestion.
The Lord Chancellor: Section 5(1) of the Public Records Act 1958, as amended in 1967, is the section that provides for the 30-year rule. It is still observed. It applies to public records in the Public Record Office, other than those to which the public had access before their transfer to the Public Record Office. Access to records not yet transferred is a matter for the department concerned. The documents relating to British policy overseas that it is proposed to publish are not yet in the Public Record Office, and there is no requirement under the Public Records Act for me to prescribe any period for them to be published.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): We are considering whether alternatives to quarantine may give equal or better protection against the importation of rabies and would expect to consult on the matter. Decisions on when and how to do so have yet to be taken. Organisations representing the interests of blind people will be included in the consultation.
Lord Donoughue: With effect from 28 July 1997, two abattoirs in Northern Ireland will have contracts to slaughter cattle qualifying for the over 30 months scheme. Having regard to the location and capacity of the two abattoirs, I am satisfied that these new arrangements will strike the right balance between the cost to the taxpayer and reasonable access to the scheme for producers in Northern Ireland.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Our manifesto said that the Prison Service faced serious financial problems and that we would audit the resources available. Shortly after taking office therefore, we asked the Director General of the Prison Service to carry out an audit of the resources available to the Prison Service, and current and projected demands on it.
My right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced on 24 July in an answer to my honourable friend the Member for Luton North, Mr. Hopkins, (Official Report, Commons, col. 682) that the Prison Service will be able to spend up to an extra £43 million during this year and next to accommodate the projected numbers safely.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government will not, in the light of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 27 March 1996 in Goodwin v. United Kingdom, be recommending the exercise of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy to grant a free pardon in respect of the fine of £5,000 imposed on Mr. William Goodwin for contempt of court.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Information detailing the recorded prison population and certified normal accommodation for each local prison in England and Wales on 15 July 1997 is given in the attached table. A comparison of the two figures expressed as a percentage is also listed.
|Name||In use CNA(1)||Op Cap(2)||Population||Population/In use CNA (per cent.)|
(1) CNA = Certified normal accommodation.
(2) Op Cap = Operational capacity.