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Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 232AE:



"POWER TO SUBSTITUTE CONVICTION OF ALTERNATIVE OFFENCE ON APPEAL IN NORTHERN IRELAND
(1) The Criminal Appeal (Northern Ireland) Act 1980 (c. 47) is amended as follows.
(2) In section 3 (power to substitute conviction of alternative offence) in subsection (1) after "an offence" there is inserted "to which he did not plead guilty".
(3) After section 3 there is inserted—
"3A POWER TO SUBSTITUTE CONVICTION OF ALTERNATIVE OFFENCE AFTER GUILTY PLEA
(1) This section applies where—
(a) an appellant has been convicted of an offence to which he pleaded guilty,
(b) if he had not so pleaded, he could on the indictment have pleaded, or been found, guilty of some other offence, and
(c) it appears to the Court of Appeal that the plea of guilty indicates an admission by the appellant of facts which prove him guilty of that other offence.
(2) The Court may, instead of allowing or dismissing the appeal, substitute for the appellant's plea of guilty a plea of guilty of that other offence and pass such sentence in substitution for the sentence passed at the trial as may be warranted in law by the plea so substituted.""

On Question, amendment agreed to.

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 232AF:


    After Clause 289, insert the following new clause—


"SUBSTITUTION OF CONVICTION ON DIFFERENT CHARGE ON APPEAL FROM COURT-MARTIAL
(1) The Courts-Martial (Appeals) Act 1968 (c. 20) is amended as follows.
(2) In section 14 (substitution of conviction on different charge) in subsection (1) after "an offence" there is inserted "to which he did not plead guilty".
(3) After section 14 there is inserted—
"14A SUBSTITUTION OF CONVICTION ON DIFFERENT CHARGE AFTER GUILTY PLEA
(1) This section applies where—
(a) an appellant has been convicted of an offence to which he pleaded guilty,
(b) if he had not so pleaded, he could lawfully have pleaded, or been found, guilty of some other offence, and
(c) it appears to the Appeal Court on an appeal against conviction that the plea of guilty indicates an admission by the appellant of facts which prove him guilty of that other offence.
(2) The Appeal Court may, instead of allowing or dismissing the appeal, substitute for the appellant's plea of guilty a plea of guilty of the other offence, and may pass on the appellant, in substitution for the sentence passed on him by the court-martial, such sentence as they think proper, being a sentence warranted by the relevant Service Act for that other offence, but not a sentence of greater severity.""

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 232AG:


    After Clause 289, insert the following new clause—


"APPEALS AGAINST SENTENCES IN ENGLAND AND WALES
(1) The Criminal Appeal Act 1968 (c. 19) is amended as follows.
(2) In section 10 (appeal against sentence in certain cases) for subsection (3) there is substituted—
"(3) An offender dealt with for an offence before the Crown Court in a proceeding to which subsection (2) of this section applies may appeal to the Court of Appeal against any sentence passed on him for the offence by the Crown Court."
(3) In section 11 (supplementary provisions as to appeal against sentence) after subsection (6) there is inserted—
"(7) For the purposes of this section, any two or more sentences are to be treated as passed in the same proceeding if—
(a) they are passed on the same day; or
(b) they are passed on different days but the court in passing any one of them states that it is treating that one together with the other or others as substantially one sentence.""

The noble Baroness said: This group of amendments will simplify the operation of Section 10 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968. Section 10 grants a right of appeal to the Court of Appeal against a sentence of the Crown Court where the defendant has been committed by the magistrates' court to the Crown Court for sentence, and under certain other circumstances where the defendant is dealt with in the Crown Court, having previously been dealt with in a magistrates' court.

Generally speaking, the right of appeal is only attracted where a defendant is sentenced on committal to six months' imprisonment, or more. Where the defendant is sentenced to less than six months, there is no right of appeal against the Crown Court's sentence.

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It would appear that the reason for the limitation is that the magistrates' court has power to impose a sentence of up to six months' imprisonment. Therefore, the thinking seems to be that if the magistrates' court committed the defendant for sentence, it must have thought that a sentence of more than six months was desirable. Accordingly, if the Crown Court imposes a sentence of less than six months, the Crown Court's sentencing decision has acted as a kind of de facto appeal, and the defendant has received a sentence lower than the magistrates' court originally intended. Therefore, the reasoning seems to be that no right of appeal against the Crown Court's sentence is necessary.

As I pointed out in my letter to Her Majesty's loyal Opposition Front Bench, however, the limitation gives rise to the anomaly that if a defendant is convicted on indictment and sentenced by the Crown Court to less than six months' imprisonment, an appeal against sentence lies to the Court of Appeal. If the defendant is convicted in the magistrates' court, committed to the Crown Court for sentence and receives the identical sentence, there is no right of appeal to the Court of Appeal. That cannot be right.

The operation of Section 10 is subject to a further complication. Where the Crown Court imposes any of the sentences listed in Section 10(3)(c) or (cc) of the 1968 Act, a right of appeal lies to the Court of Appeal, regardless of the length of any prison term imposed, and even if no term of imprisonment is imposed at all. Section 10(3)(c) currently includes, for example, orders banning a person from holding or obtaining a driving licence, and football restriction orders.

These exceptions to the general rule under Section 10 give rise to further anomalies. The senior judiciary are of the opinion, and we agree, that the section is in need of simplification. Under our amendments a right of appeal to the Court of Appeal will be available, subject to the usual leave requirement in any case to which Section 10(2) of the 1968 Act applies. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clauses 290 and 291 agreed to.

5.45 p.m.

Schedule 27 [Jury service]:

Lord Hunt of Wirral moved Amendment No. 232B:


    Page 331, line 36, leave out "and"

The noble Lord said: We now move to Schedule 27, which sets out a number of provisions on jury service. We welcome the contents of Schedule 27. However, I seek clarification from the Minister as to the effect of some of the provisions. First, I stress that we warmly welcome the change to an inclusionary approach to juries as currently there are some 4 million people who are excluded, which is an unacceptable figure.

In order for juries to be effective and representative, they must be drawn from society at large and at random. For that reason we are also pleased to note that the abolition of an easy opt out is being tackled in

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this schedule. For too long people have said that they are too important, too busy or cannot be spared from their jobs to serve on a jury. But I must point out that it seems ironic that the Bill seeks to include in the jury those who are closely involved with the administration of justice. I should like to explore that aspect with the Minister.

Certainly, under the present provisions there is a risk that particular individuals, such as a retired judge or a serving police officer, could well be called to jury service. There is a danger that they would disproportionately influence that jury. It is a danger about which I am sure the Minister will reassure us. That is the purpose of these amendments. There is a concern that a jury would naturally tend to defer to such an individual's view as that person would be seen as having the most experience in the field of justice. In many cases such people might well assert their views as experts and could even persuade the jury to support their decision on the case. Even if they did not identify themselves as connected with the administration of justice, it might be obvious from the way in which they discuss the evidence and talk about the case during deliberations that they know more than most and even through inadvertence could affect the outcome of the trial.

It would be hard to hide one's identity from the rest of the jurors were the juror in question to be the Lord Chief Justice or a member of the high-profile judiciary. Those closely connected with the administration of criminal justice will also know the reasons why juries are sometimes excluded from the court room while a judge makes a ruling on a piece of evidence, a confession, an allegation of bad character, or whatever. It will be hard for those with that kind of knowledge to put it completely from their mind and to try the case on the evidence before them when they will suspect, or indeed may even know from signs that they would understand, that there is more evidence of a controversial nature.

On a more practical note, the schedule seems to have been ill thought through in one or two other respects. I take, for example, the situation of a district judge called to serve on a jury. It would be reasonable to assume that he would not be asked to travel a large distance to carry out his duty and so would probably report to his local court—most likely his own. There he would know the court staff and might even know a few of the defendants.

While such a person, male or female, is listening to the case, they might ask many questions. That is an absolute right of a member of the jury, but that kind of questioning might well disrupt the trial and distract the other jury members. In summing-up or in advising the jury on the law, the trial judge may make a mistake that the judge serving on the jury notices. I wonder what would happen in those circumstances. Would the individual be allowed to point out the error or would the trial be allowed to carry on until there is an appeal?

The solution to these problems is to be found in this group of amendments. They would not grant a blanket exemption for those connected with the

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administration of justice; rather they would exempt them if, in the opinion of the appropriate officer, other jurors might give their views undue weight. The amendments would insert a new subsection into the 1974 Act to ensure that a person who wished to challenge the appropriate officer's decision either way could have the issue resolved by the Crown Court. They would also enable the appropriate officer to obtain the court's guidance, where necessary.

I hope I have explained my reason for moving the amendment. I need some reassurance. It might well be helpful to the Committee if the Minister were to explain how she sees this particular side of jury service developing. I stress again how warmly I welcome the Government's extension to an inclusive system. I beg to move.


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