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Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 23:


The noble Lord said: My Lords, again, in accordance with the custom of the House, the Government have tabled amendments consequential on the change made to the arrangements for the appointment of chief

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officers. However, it would be proper for me to advise the House that in this instance the changes made on Report are not acceptable to the Government. They affect an issue of principle and purpose behind the Bill. For that reason, we shall of course seek to overturn this Government in another place. I beg to move.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, we look forward to the noble Lord seeking to overturn the Government in another place.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendments Nos. 24 to 27:


    Page 9, line 35, leave out ("or persons so employed").


    Page 9, line 37, leave out ("or person so employed").


    Page 9, line 40, leave out ("and chief probation officers").


    Page 9, line 40, leave out ("or appointed").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 22 [Effect of transfer of chief probation officers]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 28:


    Leave out Clause 22.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Blatch had given notice of her intention to move Amendment No. 29:


    After Clause 32, insert the following new clause--

REINSTATEMENT OF DISQUALIFICATION ORDER

(" .--(1) This section applies where the Tribunal has directed under the provisions of section 31 that a disqualification order is to cease to have effect in respect of an individual.
(2) A relevant person may at any time apply to the Tribunal for the reinstatement of the disqualification order.
(3) An application under subsection (2) may only be granted if the Tribunal is satisfied, having regard to all the circumstances, that it is likely that the individual will commit a further offence against a child.
(4) Where the Tribunal reinstates an order under this section, it must state its reasons for doing so and cause those reasons to be included in the record of the proceedings.
(5) In this section, "relevant person" means--
(a) the Secretary of State;
(b) a superintendent of police; or
(c) the director of social services of a local authority.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I shall be very brief. As noble Lords will have noticed, another amendment has been tabled covering the same area of concern I have had throughout the passage of the Bill. Therefore, I shall not move Amendment No. 29. I am deeply grateful to the Government for their Amendment No. 30. I shall now sit down and wait for the noble Lord to introduce that amendment.

[Amendment No. 29 not moved.]

The Attorney-General (Lord Williams of Mostyn) moved Amendment No. 30:


    After Clause 33, insert the following new clause--

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RESTORATION OF DISQUALIFICATION ORDER

(" .--(1) If it appears to a chief officer of police or a director of social services of a local authority that the conditions set out in subsection (2) are satisfied in the case of an individual, the chief officer or (as the case may be) the director may apply to the High Court for an order under this section to be made in respect of the individual.
(2) The conditions are that--
(a) a disqualification order made in respect of the individual is no longer in force, and
(b) the individual has acted in such a way (whether before or after the order ceased to be in force) as to give reasonable cause to believe that an order under this section is necessary to protect children in general, or any children in particular, from serious harm from him.
(3) An application under this section may be made at any time after the disqualification order ceased to be in force.
(4) If the High Court is satisfied that the conditions set out in subsection (2) are satisfied, it must order that the disqualification order is to be restored; otherwise it must dismiss the application.
(5) Where an order is made under this section, section 33 has effect with the following modifications--
(a) in subsection (3), the reference to the individual being under the age of 18 when he committed the offence against a child is to be read as a reference to his being under that age when the order under this section was made,
(b) in subsections (3)(a) and (4)(a), references to the relevant date are to be read as references to the date on which the order under this section was made,
(c) in subsection (5)(a), the reference to the individual's circumstances changing since the disqualification order was made is to be read as a reference to his circumstances changing since the order under this section was made.
(6) For the purposes of this section a disqualification order is no longer in force if a direction under section 32(3) has been given in respect of it and it is not restored by virtue of an order under this section.").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, originally this amendment was grouped with Amendments Nos. 29 and 132. The noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, is quite right. I listened to the way in which she deployed her argument on the point of--I believe that I paraphrase it accurately--the restoration of a disqualification to a previously disqualified individual, and, if I may say so, I believe that her argument had substantial merit.

We gave the matter a good deal of thought. The government amendment, which is an alternative, seeks to provide a power for the High Court to disqualify a previously disqualified person or restore to the list a previously listed person acting on the application of a chief officer of police or a director of social services of a local authority. The High Court would have the power to reinstate the disqualification order or restore the person to the list if satisfied that such a course of action was necessary for the purpose of protecting a child or children. The reinstated order would trigger all the consequences following from the original disqualification.

Therefore, I am most grateful to the noble Baroness. I believe that she and I both had the same purpose in mind. Accordingly, I beg to move, and commend, Amendment No. 30.

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On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendment No. 31:


    After Clause 37, insert the following new clause--

("Indecent conduct towards children
EXTENSION OF OFFENCE: CONDUCT TOWARDS 14 AND 15 YEAR OLDS

. In section 1(1) of the Indecency with Children Act 1960 (indecent conduct towards young child), for "fourteen" there is substituted "sixteen".").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, we are in similar territory with this amendment. I believe that if I continue to agree with the noble Baroness we shall both be dismissed immediately from our respective Front Benches. However, many of the points raised in our earlier debates were extremely serious. Where we were able to meet the points, I hope that it will be seen that we tried to do so.

This amendment is grouped with Amendments Nos. 32 and 57. At present it is an offence under Section 1 of the Indecency with Children Act 1960 for a person to commit an act of gross indecency with a child under the age of 14 or to incite a child under that age to such an act. The first new clause would raise the age of a child against whom the offence could be committed from 13 to 15. In Northern Ireland a similar offence of indecent conduct towards a child is to be found in Section 22 of the Children and Young Persons Act (Northern Ireland) 1968 and applies to children under the age of 14. The second new clause would raise the age of a child against whom the offence could be committed in Northern Ireland from 13 to 16.

I hope that the noble Baroness will again be able to say that this concession is in accord with the underlying theme of what she urged upon us on the earlier occasions. I beg to move.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, if I carry on like this, I believe that I shall be in danger of being drummed out of the Brownies. That will come to an end temporarily, but I am deeply grateful to the Minister because I know that he has worked very hard to press the arguments in another place.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendment No. 32:


    After Clause 37, insert the following new clause--

EXTENSION OF CORRESPONDING NORTHERN IRELAND OFFENCE: CONDUCT TOWARDS 14 TO 16 YEAR OLDS. 1960 C. 33.

(" .--(1) The Children and Young Persons Act (Northern Ireland) 1968 is amended as follows.
(2) At the end of section 22 (indecent conduct towards child) there is inserted--
"(2) In this section "child" means a person under the age of seventeen."

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(3) In section 180(1) (interpretation), in the definition of "child"--
(a) after ""child"" there is inserted ", except when used in section 22,", and
(b) at the end there is inserted "and, when used in section 22, has the meaning assigned to it by that section".").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

3.15 p.m.

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 33:


    After Clause 38, insert the following new clause--


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