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Lord Morris of Aberavon: I wish to make a general point before we leave this clause. I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, raised the place of Owain Glyndwr in history. Indeed, I would regard him as a patriot. Others might regard him as a terroristafter all, the castles in north Wales were erected as English police stations to keep the Welsh down, and there was a great deal of merit in dealing with those intrusions into our society. But a serious point has been made regarding Meibion Glyndwrthe Sons of Glendowerwho, unhappily and very regrettably, burned cottages as recently as in the past 15 years. Even the great and revered poet in the English language, Reverend RS Thomas, writing in English as recently as 1991 said words that might be interpreted as being sympathetic to what the Sons of Glendower were doing, and the remarks of the reverend cleric might be regarded as offensive to certain sections.
My point is that in the last debate, and indeed earlier debates, we had difficulties with the poor drafting of this clause. I made it clear at Second Readingit was not possible to go into any detailthat as the clause stood I was not with the Government. Unless they come back with further proposals lateras they will be doing on the subject of recklessnessI shall find it very difficult to support the Government on that.
At Second Reading I indicated that I had tried to draft specimen directions to a jury and that I had not found it easy. If the Minister could persuade her learned colleagues to put in the Library a series of draft directions to jurieswhat juries are supposed to findthat might ease our task in discussing this clause. It is a modest request and it would help me in particular.
Lord Goodhart: As I briefly introduced this debate, I think that it falls to me to wind up. The contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, raised an interesting idea in my mindthat if someone wrote an article in a magazine or newspaper praising the conduct of Mr Arthur Scargill and the National Union of Mineworkers at Saltley during the 1973 miners' strike and said that it was a model that trade unions should follow in future, arguably that could amount to the encouragement of terrorism. That conduct involved serious violence. Much as I disapprove of what happened at Saltley, I certainly would not wish it to be said to be a terrorist operation; nor would I wish to see the National Union of Mineworkers become a proscribed organisation.
This group of amendments raises issues that have caused enormous concern not only to our universities and libraries but also, as my noble friend Lord Greaves and others have said, to much wider circles. In this
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country we pride ourselves, rightly, on our universities and our standards of academic freedom, and we are alarmed by any threat to them. The government amendmentsI have pleasure in saying thishave to a considerable extent met our concerns on Clause 1 and, in effect, have entirely met our concerns in relation to Clause 6, but they have not done so in relation to Clause 2. In later groups we will come to specific proposals for changes which need to be made to Clause 2.
I recognise that the wording of these amendments is not in a form appropriate for inclusion in the Bill, but they are being brought forward by my noble friend Lady Williamsa former Secretary of State for Education who has had very close involvement with universities on both sides of the Atlanticas probing amendments. In that way, they have been successful because they have led to a serious and valuable debate.
I hope that the Minister will bring forward amendments to deal with our concerns on Clause 2, but, until we see those amendments, for the purposes of this debate we have to ignore them. We cannot simply take for granted something whose terms we do not know. Having said that, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 2 [Dissemination of terrorist publications]:
Lord Goodhart had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 22:
The noble Lord said: I do not intend to move this amendment at this time, because it is a paving amendment for a larger group of amendments concerned with Clause 3 and would be better discussed at that point.
[Amendment No. 22 not moved.]
Lord Cameron of Lochbroom moved Amendment No. 23:
The noble and learned Lord said: Amendments are coming up that deal with the point with which this amendment is concerned, the concept of guilty intent, which should be brought into this clause. Since what is proposed later on is far more elegant in securing what the bludgeon of this amendment was designed to bring before the Committee I did not intend to move it.
Amendment No. 40 is in this group and adds "or" to Clause 2(8)(a). The matter was dealt with by the Minister when speaking to Amendment No. 20. I refer to col. 501 of Hansard of 5 December, when she explained that all three limbs of the subsection have to be satisfied to establish the defence. I am prepared to accept that and, therefore, when we come to Amendment No. 40, I shall not move it. I beg to move.
The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): As these amendments have been
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spoken to, I must take it that this amendment is moved, in case other noble Lords wish to speak. If the noble Lord now wishes to seek leave to withdraw, he is able to do so.
Lord Cameron of Lochbroom: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Lord Kingsland moved Amendment No. 24:
The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 24 is the first amendment in a line of amendments that cover two issues. The first issue is intent in relation to the offences described in Clause 2 and the second is what subsection 3 adds to Clause 2 that is not already in Clause 1(1). Amendment No. 25A is a probing amendment to tease that out. I apologise to the Committee for the fact that our original amendment, Amendment No. 25, has been adjusted in Amendment No. 25A, which merely substitutes "terrorist publication" for "statement" in what would be Clause 2(1A)(a).
I can deal briefly with the first amendment, which refers to Clause 2(1)(f). The subsection reads as follows:
and then there are five examples of how the offence can be committed. The sixth example, in paragraph (f), states:
It is important to make it absolutely clear here that the reason an accused person has a publication in his possession is because he wishes subsequently to distribute it. Plainly, a number of people will have publications in their possession which have been distributed to them. In our view, therefore, "a view" should be substituted by "intend", to make it absolutely clear that the reason somebody has such a terrorist publication in their possession is because they wish subsequently to disseminate it. That is a purely drafting point.
Amendment No. 25A, however, raises an important point of substance. Unlike Clause 1, there is no intent provision in Clause 2that is, no intent provision with respect to the act of dissemination. Amendment No. 25A seeks to insert such an intent requirement. Indeed, it goes further than intent; it mimics Clause 1(1) by requiring that the act of disseminating a terrorist publication has either to be intended or to be committed recklesslyrecklessly in the subjective sense of the word.
It is important that the Bill reflects that the intention to disseminate involves two separate acts in order to be an offence under the Bill. First, there has to be an intention to perform the physical act of dissemination; and, secondly, there has to be an intention that the publication that is disseminated is a terrorist publication. Both intents have to be proved by the prosecution according to the usual standard, although
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they are not expressed separately but as a single intentthat is, the intent to disseminate a terrorist publication or to disseminate it recklessly. That is all I need to say about Amendment No. 25A. If the Committee accepts my Amendment No. 25A, the defences in Clause 2(8) and (9) become otiose.
I now turn to the second issue these amendments raise, that of Clause 2(3). Amendment No. 27 simply seeks to eradicate the subsection altogether. But it is at this stage a probing amendment, because I have not yet heard the noble Baroness's reaction. Subsection (3) seeks to clarify what "matter" constitutes. What does "matter" mean and does the clause add anything to what is already in Clause 1(1)?
"Matter" is defined in Clause 2(2), and it constitutes two ingredientsfirst, in Clause 2(2)(a),
and, secondly, in Clause 2(2)(b),
I have no difficulty whatever in accepting that "matter" is necessary to incorporate what constitutes Clause 2(2)(b), but I am in some difficulty in understanding why the expression is necessary when we are dealing with Clause 2(2)(a).
What is covered by "matter" in subsection (2)(a) that is not covered by subsection (5), which elaborates subsection (2)(b), other than a statement? What can matter be in subsection (2)(a) other than a statement? If I am right in reaching that conclusion, why do we need subsection (3) at all? All we need is for subsection (2)(a) to read, "a statement to which subsection (1) of Clause 1 applies". In sum, I submit that "matter" in Clause 2 can only mean either a statement, in which case it is covered by Clause 1(1) and no additional definition is needed, or constitute what is described in subsection (2) (b) as,
In tabling this probing amendment, I am not seeking to reduce the obligations on any potential disseminator of information. Nor am I seeking to reduce in any way the powers of the Government concerning dissemination. I am seeking to see whether a singularly opaque subsectionsubsection (3)can be expunged altogether from the Bill to achieve greater certainty, something for which we are all desperately seeking in this Committee. I beg to move.
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