Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Renton: Before the amendment is withdrawn, I ask the Government to bear in mind what the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, has said about the general effect of the clause and its general effect as amended by the Government. This is a part of the law in which, in the interests of justice, the terms should be absolutely clear. It affects people's freedom, it affects the protection of the public by depriving people of bail or putting them into custody when there is a risk to the public. It is not part of our duty in either House of Parliament to have legislation affecting these matters put in such long and complicated terms. It would be wise if, between now and Report, the Government considered the complete redrafting of this clause.

Lord Goldsmith: I rise because I think the noble Lord, Lord Renton, put that as a question to me. I beg to differ with him and the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, as to the alleged lack of clarity in the clause, which fits in any event within an existing Act of Parliament that carries with it particular presumptions, as I have said, subject to these clauses. But of course I always listen to the suggestions of the noble Lord, Lord Renton, and I give him that assurance.

7 Jul 2003 : Column 113

Lord Thomas of Gresford: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 62 not moved.]

9.30 p.m.

Lord Goldsmith moved Amendment No. 63:


    Page 10, line 28, at end insert—


"(1A) After paragraph 9AA of that Part (inserted by section 14(2)) there is inserted—
"9AB (1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2) below, this paragraph applies if—
(a) the defendant is under the age of 18, and
(b) it appears to the court that, having been released on bail in or in connection with the proceedings for the offence, he failed to surrender to custody.
(2) Where it appears to the court that the defendant had reasonable cause for his failure to surrender to custody, this paragraph does not apply unless it also appears to the court that he failed to surrender to custody at the appointed place as soon as reasonably practicable after the appointed time.
(3) In deciding for the purposes of paragraph 2(1) of this Part of this Schedule whether it is satisfied that there are substantial grounds for believing that the defendant, if released on bail (whether subject to conditions or not), would fail to surrender to custody, the court shall give particular weight to—
(a) where the defendant did not have reasonable cause for his failure to surrender to custody, the fact that he failed to surrender to custody, or
(b) where he did have reasonable cause for his failure to surrender to custody, the fact that he failed to surrender to custody at the appointed place as soon as reasonably practicable after the appointed time.
(4) For the purposes of this paragraph, a failure to give to the defendant a copy of the record of the decision to grant him bail shall not constitute a reasonable cause for his failure to surrender to custody.""

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 64 not moved.]

Lord Goldsmith moved Amendments Nos. 65 and 66:


    Page 10, line 36, leave out "subsection (12) or" and insert "either or both of subsections (12) and"


    Page 10, leave out lines 41 to 47 and insert—


"(13) This subsection applies if an information is laid for the relevant offence no later than 3 months from the time of the occurrence of the first of the events mentioned in subsection (14) below to occur after the commission of the relevant offence."

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 15, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 16 [Appeal to Crown Court]:

Lord Goldsmith moved Amendment No. 67:


    Page 11, leave out line 28.

The noble and learned Lord said: In moving the amendment I shall speak also to Amendment No. 68 and touch on Amendment No. 68A, to which the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, will speak.

Clause 16 creates a new right of appeal to the Crown Court against the imposition by magistrates of certain conditions of bail. That was recommended by Lord Justice Auld in his review, and it complements the

7 Jul 2003 : Column 114

removal by Clause 17—to which we shall come shortly—of the existing High Court power to entertain such appeals.

As the Bill stands, the conditions that may be challenged in that way are requirements relating to residence away from a certain area, provision of a surety, or giving a security, curfew, or electronic monitoring. It was argued in another place that a condition to reside at a particular address was potentially as restrictive as one to reside away from a particular area.

The Government agreed to consider that argument, and we have been persuaded by it. So the amendments tabled by the Government—if the Committee agrees to them—give a right of appeal against the imposition of a condition that the defendant should reside at a particular place, with the exception of a bail hostel.

We also said that we would consider a requirement not to contact a particular person, which is the subject of the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson. I wait to hear what he says about it, but I have indicated to him already that the Government are not resistant to his proposal, with certain adjustments. I beg to move.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: As the noble and learned Lord the Attorney General has kindly made clear, we have tabled Amendment No. 68A in this group. With the Committee's permission, I shall move Amendment No. 68A in a modified form by omitting the last two words of the amendment; that is, the words, "or person", so that the words to be inserted by the amendment are:


    ", or


    (e) that the person concerned makes no contact with another person".

As the noble and learned Lord made clear, this is an addition to Clause 16(3), listing appealable conditions. This is a further appealable condition. The noble and learned Lord referred to the discussion in another place. The Minister replied that he did not believe that the conditions were,


    "so great a restriction on a defendant's liberty as to require a right of appeal",

but he conceded that he,


    "would like to look at the proposal and to consider further the point made by the hon. Gentleman [Mr. Grieve] in respect of paragraph (h)".—[Official Report, Commons Standing Committee B, 7/1/03; cols. 176-8.]

Paragraph (h) is now paragraph (e) in Amendment No. 68A and makes reference to not contacting a particular person. We are very grateful to the Minister for taking that consideration on board. That condition of bail stands out because there are circumstances where a defendant's liberty might be curtailed to an unreasonable extent by its imposition. Freedom of association should be protected by the ability to appeal against restrictions placed on it.

Another consideration is that such a condition curtails the freedom not only of the defendant but of the person whom the defendant is prevented from seeing. Accordingly, the condition potentially has

7 Jul 2003 : Column 115

doubly far-reaching effects on the liberty of the defendant and that of the other people specified in the condition. The bail condition as laid out in Amendment No. 68A is quite frequently opposed; therefore, we are grateful for the Government's sympathetic response to the amendment.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: We support Amendments Nos. 68 and 68A. My only qualification is that I do not see why it is necessary to specify the conditions of bail that may be the subject of an appeal. I would have thought that the right of appeal should apply to any condition of bail. Although, at this hour, I am not in a position to recall any specific additional condition of appeal, there are frequently conditions other than those listed. I look forward to hearing from the Minister why the provision is limited in that way.

Lord Goldsmith: I am content to accept Amendment No. 68A as modified, given the support that it has received and the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson. I understand that it is acceptable to modify the amendment in that form.

I wish to respond to one remark made by the noble Lord, Lord Thomas. There is no amendment before the Committee to add to the clause any other condition as being subject to appeal. There is no amendment to remove the conditions that exist. Given the lateness of the hour, I hope that the noble Lord will forgive me for saying that it is not therefore appropriate for me to comment on what I would have said to other amendments had they been moved. I beg to move Amendment No. 67.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Goldsmith moved Amendment No. 68:


    Page 11, line 29, at beginning insert—


"(aa) that the person concerned resides at a particular place other than a bail hostel,"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts moved Amendment No. 68A:


    Page 11, line 32, at end insert ", or


(e) that the person concerned makes no contact with another person"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 16, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 17 [Appeals to High Court]:


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page