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The Earl of Onslow: I am rather depressed by the fact that the Minister cannot tell the difference between the meaning of the words "suspect" and "believe". The dictionary would make it quite clear. The following subsection refers to "reasonable grounds to believe". Why cannot we have those words here as opposed to "suspecting"? That would be a minor improvement on something which is pretty awful, but at least it would be a minor improvement.

Viscount Astor: I believed that my noble friend Lord Lucas, who is not now behind me, was going to thank the Minister for his contribution to the amendment, so I shall do so on his behalf. I am sure that the noble and learned Lord will study carefully what the Minister said on his Amendments Nos. 60 and 67.

The Earl of Onslow: How will the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, be able to study what the Minister has said before Report stage?

Viscount Astor: I do not know whether Hansard will have been produced, but I presume that there will be some record at Report stage. I understand that the Government Chief Whip cannot tell us. If the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, will not be able to read Hansard, no doubt my noble friend will tell him in the morning and take him carefully through the arguments on which he has been concentrating.

The Earl of Onslow: I cannot remember what anybody has said!

Lord Bassam of Brighton: We shall be able to provide the noble and learned Lord with a copy of the speaking note.

Viscount Astor: The noble and learned Lord will have help from all sides of the Committee.

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In relation to Amendments No. 57, 58 and 59, I accept what the Minister has said. Our positions are not all that different. I am happy to beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 58 to 60 not moved.]

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 61:


    Page 9, line 26, at end insert--


("(4) A person who has been detained under subsection (2) above may only be further detained under that subsection in the same control period in reliance on information which was not available to the constable who previously detained him; and a person on whom a notice has been served under section 21B(2) below may not be detained under subsection (2) above in the same control period.").

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 61, I shall also speak to Amendment No. 62. The power in new Section 21A is designed to be a short-term power to hold someone while inquiries are made. We do not believe that it will be abused by police officers. Nevertheless, we are mindful of the suggestions that have been made here and in another place that it may theoretically be possible for the same person to be detained repeatedly under that power. Therefore, we have brought forward government Amendment No. 61 which makes it clear that a person who has been detained and released without issue of a notice under new Section 21B can be redetained under this power in the same control period only on new information, the key words being "on new information". Similarly, someone who has been issued with a notice and appeared in court cannot be redetained under new Section 21A in the same control period.

I hope that this amendment will allay any anxieties on this score and I commend it to the Committee. The opposition Amendment No. 62, standing in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Cope of Berkeley, clearly has the same object in mind. I hope that the noble Lord will accept that it is preferable to tie in the prohibition on redetention to the whole of the control period rather than to a 24-hour period and, therefore, that he will, in due course, not move Amendment No. 62.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: The Lord in Waiting correctly says that my amendment is also aimed at what at one stage in history was called "cat and mouse" detention. His amendment achieves the effect in a more satisfactory way. I am happy to go along with it.

It may interest noble Lords to know that while I was out of the Chamber my attention was drawn to the Evening Standard and particularly to the horoscope of the noble Lord, the Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms. It says:


    "A recent bout of over-tiredness is making you less perceptive than usual. It's not that you're unwilling to put in your share of the workload, but you are struggling to make your usual impact".

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 62 to 65 not moved.]

24 Jul 2000 : Column 262

Lord Cope of Berkeley had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 66:


    Page 9, line 30, after ("may") insert ("if the conditions in section 21A(1)(a) and (b) are met").

The noble Lord said: This is a version of Amendment No. 67, which we have already discussed.

[Amendment No. 66 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 67 not moved.]

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 68:


    Page 9, line 38, after ("tournament") insert ("which includes such matches").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 69 and 70 not moved.]

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 71:


    Page 10, line 3, at end insert--


("( ) The Lord Chancellor shall ensure that during any control period a magistrates' court is convened for the purpose of hearings under this section at such ports and airports as he considers appropriate.").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 71 originally appeared in one of the earlier groups. It provides that magistrates should be convened at the ports and airports at appropriate times. The obvious purpose is to try to ensure that the court part of the procedure follows as quickly after the police part of the procedure as possible--if I can summarise it in that way now that we are all familiar with the Bill--by having stipendiary magistrates standing by at what are expected to be busy times. It could be helpful if the sort of scenario envisaged earlier by the noble Lord, Lord Woolmer, were to come about. I beg to move.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: We have agreed that magistrates' hearings will be convened, at weekends where necessary, to ensure that individuals issued with a notice preventing them leaving England and Wales will have the opportunity of a hearing as soon as possible, and certainly before the 24-hour limit expires.

I appreciate the intention behind the amendment. In fact, the noble Lord discussed the effect of it briefly with me and I took that as a positive contribution. We do not believe that it will be necessary, though we accept that it is vital that the hearings are held as close as possible to the port or airport concerned, if indeed the notice was issued at a port or airport; some may have been issued at the respondent's home before he set off. It will not usually be necessary to set up courts in the port buildings themselves. However, I am willing to look at the matter again when the measures are reviewed in 12 months' time. That timeframe will enable us to take a further rain-check on this.

We have been in contact with the Lord Chancellor's Department on this matter. It shares our view that we can put in place adequate arrangements to cover the noble Lord's point. However, we will keep it under review and, when the first review period is complete, we shall need to comment to continue to satisfy Members of your Lordships' House and elsewhere

24 Jul 2000 : Column 263

that these measures are effective and that people have reasonable access to justice not far from the point of their original detention.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: I take it from the Minister's response that it is not necessary to have this provision in the Bill to achieve the effect required, should it be thought necessary. In the light of that, and in the light of the Minister's undertaking to keep the matter under review during the initial period, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 72:


    Page 10, line 15, at end insert--


("( ) The court must offer bail to any person remanded by virtue of subsection (3).").

The noble Lord said: I look forward to the Minister's reply on this amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government are not able to accept this amendment, which seeks to ensure that anyone remanded under new Section 21C(3) will be offered bail. We believe that the court must have the power to remand either in custody or on bail as it sees fit. So we should not act to fetter its discretion. To deprive it of the power to remand in custody even where there were strong reasons to believe that the respondent would, if released, leave the country and cause disorder at regulated football matches would be a significant weakening of the structure of controls in the Bill.

I suggest to the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, therefore, that, if he believes that this should be an effective measure--and I believe he does--he should withdraw this amendment.

Lord Lucas: The Government are saying that someone charged merely with a civil offence can none the less be imprisoned for it until the police are ready with a case that the person is supposed to answer. That really is stretching the definition of "civil" case a long way.

4.45 a.m.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Yes, in some circumstances where we thought there was good cause to hold that belief, we believe that that would be right. Of course that would have to be based on good and sound evidence. No doubt the officers involved would be very careful in the exercise of that power. But, as I said, we believe that that would be right in some situations.


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