Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 79:


The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 79, I wish to speak to seven other government amendments, Amendments Nos. 80, 81, 82, 83 ,85, 87 and 92D.

This group of drafting amendments ensures that Part I of Schedule 8 in its application to Scotland is consistent with and, where possible, similar to the drafting of Part I of Schedule 8 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Amendment No. 79 removes paragraph 16 which becomes unnecessary in view of the other changes being made to the Scottish section of Part I of the schedule. Amendments Nos. 80, 81, 82, 83, 85, 87 and 92D align the drafting of paragraph 17 for Scotland with the drafting of paragraphs 6 and 8(b) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Unless your Lordships require me to do so, I shall not speak to each of these relatively minor drafting amendments individually. I beg to move.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: All of these drafting amendments--I accept that they are drafting amendments of some complexity--refer to Scotland. The fact of having to bring them forward, and for that matter other amendments in different parts of the Bill, implies to me that there was a lack of consultation between those who drafted the Bill and the Scottish authorities. We were told earlier that the Scottish Parliament had not been consulted on the Bill although the Scottish Executive had been. Whereas terrorism and the pursuit of terrorism are reserved matters properly dealt with by this Parliament, the law and the administration of the law in Scotland are devolved matters. The Bill affects devolved matters in that respect because it alters the way in which the law is managed in Scotland. Some of the amendments refer to points of that kind. Can the Minister tell us about the consultation that took place and why it was, judging by the amendments, ineffective?

Lord Bach: I cannot tell the Committee much more about the consultation than I did at the first sitting of the Committee last week. But I can explain why the provisions for Scotland were originally drafted differently.

These are not, for the most part, original provisions. They have appeared in earlier Acts about terrorism and those Acts have not always been concerned with terrorism. In drafting the current provisions for Scotland, account was taken of the earlier provisions. So far as is possible and consistent with the separate and different Scottish criminal system, the aim is to have consistency of approach between the provisions for Scotland on the one hand and for England, Wales

24 May 2000 : Column 706

and Northern Ireland on the other. The amendments are part of the process of achieving that consistency. If the noble Lord is concerned that there has been some kind of difficulty in relation to consultation between Scotland and England on this matter, he can rest assured that that is not the case.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Bach moved Amendments Nos. 80 to 83:


    Page 116, line 12, after ("detained") insert ("under Schedule 7 or section 41 at a police station in Scotland").


    Page 116, line 14, leave out ("reasonably").


    Page 116, line 14, at end insert--


("( ) The person named must be--
(a) a friend of the detained person,
(b) a relative, or
(c) a person who is known to the detained person or who is likely to take an interest in his welfare.
( ) Where a detained person is transferred from one police station to another, he shall be entitled to exercise the right under sub-paragraph (1) in respect of the police station to which he is transferred.").
Page 116, line 16, leave out from beginning to ("in").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 84:


    Page 116, line 18, at end insert ("or where paragraph 19(3A) applies").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Bach moved Amendments Nos. 85 to 87:


    Page 116, line 26, leave out from beginning to ("in").


    Page 116, line 28, at end insert ("or where paragraph 19(3A) applies").


    Page 116, line 29, at end insert--


("( ) Where a person is detained under section 41 he must be permitted to exercise his rights under this paragraph before the end of the period mentioned in subsection (3) of that section.").

The noble Lord said: These amendments have already been spoken to. I beg to move.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees: In calling Amendment No. 87A, I have to say that if it is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 87B to 88B inclusive.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 87A:


    Page 116, line 30, leave out paragraph 18.

The noble Lord said: This is a substantive group of amendments for Scotland. They pick up a point to which the Scottish Centre for Human Rights has drawn careful attention. I see that the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, in his amendments has sought also to address the problem. I am grateful to him for doing that. I am most grateful to the Scottish Centre for Human Rights for having drawn our attention to the problem.

24 May 2000 : Column 707

The problem and the amendments are concerned with the position of a child who is detained in Scotland under Clause 41 of, or Schedule 7 to, the Bill. Paragraph 18 of Schedule 8 deals with the rights of a detained child by modifying paragraph 17 which deals with the rights of detained adults. The provisions of paragraphs 17 and 18 are not new. They repeat provisions which the government of the day introduced in 1984-85. Paragraph 18 requires that where a child has been detained, the police must inform his parent without delay of his detention and where he is being detained and must also allow the parent access to the child. However, the police may authorise a delay of up to 48 hours in telling the parent about the child's detention, where the police consider that to tell the parent earlier would prejudice the investigation of crime or the apprehension and prosecution of offenders. So, in an extreme, and I would hope unlikely, case a parent may not know for up to 48 hours where his or her child is and why.

Paragraph 20(2) of Schedule 8 at present states that the provisions about detention of an adult under paragraph 17 and, more particularly, of a child under paragraph 18 replace any other rule of law about rights on detention. In this context, the relevant provision which is replaced by virtue of paragraph 20(2) is Section 15 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, on which I shall say a little more shortly.

The Scottish Human Rights Centre quite correctly has pointed out that the effect of paragraph 20(2) is to put a child detained in Scotland under the Bill in a different position from a child detained in England, Wales or Northern Ireland under the Bill. The effect also of paragraph 20(2) is to put the child detained in Scotland under the Bill in a different position from a child detained in Scotland on any other ground. The position in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is that the PACE legislation in its various forms and codes issued under it will require that the child's parent or guardian must be told without delay that the child is being detained and where he is being detained. It is not the intention of this Government, in this Bill, to have such a prejudicial difference for the child in Scotland. I have therefore brought forward amendments to remedy the position.

The first main amendment is Amendment No. 87A. This removes paragraph 18 from Schedule 8 to the Bill. Amendments Nos. 90A, 90B, 92B and 92C and 93A and 93B are consequential on that removal. The second main amendment is Amendment No. 93C. This is concerned only with the child and it applies, in effect, the general criminal law in Section 15(4) of the Scottish 1995 Act.

The first effect of applying Section 15(4) of the 1995 Act is that in every case where a child is detained in Scotland under Clause 41 or Schedule 7 his parent, if known, must be informed without delay that he has been detained and where he is being detained. The second effect is that the child's parent must be allowed access to him unless the police have reasonable cause to suspect that the parent has himself or herself been involved in the offence for which the child is being

24 May 2000 : Column 708

detained. In those cases, the police may nevertheless allow the parent access to the child but they are not necessarily required to do so.

In every case where a parent is to have access, the nature and extent of the access which is granted may be subject to any restriction which is essential for ensuring the wellbeing of the child or for the investigation of the alleged offence. That is the effect of the application of Section 15(4) of the Scottish 1995 Act. It puts the child detained in Scotland in a similar position to a child detained under the Bill in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As the Committee will note, Amendment No. 93C contains a definition of "child" and "parent" by reference to Section 15 of the Scottish 1995 Act. That is the same definition which is currently provided at paragraph 20(1) of Schedule 8 and which for drafting reasons Amendment No. 93C removes.

With that explanation, I beg to move the amendment. In doing so, I should repeat the Government's great appreciation of the vigilance of the Scottish Human Rights Centre in pointing out to us the need for this change to be made. I should also commend the good intentions of the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, in tabling his amendments which are undoubtedly designed to achieve a similar effect. I trust that, with that explanation, your Lordships will agree to these amendments and that the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, will be persuaded, if he needs persuading, that the government amendments cover the same territory, perhaps in a slightly superior way, as the ones which he tabled and that he will not therefore move his amendments.

7.30 p.m.

Lord Dubs: I am grateful to my noble friend. I think it has proved to be a tribute to the benefits of bicameralism that we have been able to achieve these amendments, which might not otherwise have appeared in the Bill. What my noble friend has said reflects entirely the aims of my own amendments. I presume that, technically, his approach is better than mine and therefore I shall not move my amendments. Once again, I am grateful to my noble friend for meeting the point at issue here.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page