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In the cases of Sergeant Selman and others recently acquitted at court martial, from how many of the alleged victim's compatriots the investigating police took sworn or signed statements; and [HL6184]
In the cases of Sergeant Selman and others recently acquitted at court martial, what arrangements were made for the interpretation and translation of any sworn and signed statements made by the compatriots of the alleged victim; and [HL6185]
In the cases of Sergeant Selman and others recently acquitted at court martial, whether any recordings were made of the questioning of compatriots of the alleged victim, including any caution to them as to the significance of a sworn and signed statement; if so, whether transcripts were supplied to the prosecuting authority; and whether these transcripts are now available. [HL6186]
Lord Goldsmith: Four Iraqis were alleged to have been made to walk into the Shatt Al Basra Canal: the deceased, Mr Hanoun and two others who appear not to have been known to Mr Hanoun and did not come forward as witnesses.
Mr Hanoun provided an initial statement to the Royal Military Police, which was recorded in English with the aid of an interpreter. The statement had the usual declaration on it that the statement was true to the knowledge and belief of the witness and that he made it knowing that if it was tendered in evidence he would be liable for prosecution if he wilfully stated in it anything that he knew to be false or did not believe to be true. It was unclear, following evidence at the trial, whether the statement was ever read back to him before he signed it and there was no addendum at the bottom of the statement that had been signed by the interpreter to indicate that this had been done.
The Royal Military Police Special Investigations Branch (SIB) then took over the case and video interviewed Mr Hanoun, assisted by a locally employed SIB interpreter. In the UK a detailed examination of the translation took place when a written transcript of the interview was prepared (it became apparent that there were significant inaccuracies with the interpretation that had taken place at the time the interview was conducted). Further written statements were taken from Mr Hanoun with the benefit of an interpreter and this process was recorded on to tape and the translations checked.
All recordings and videos were provided to the Army Prosecuting Authority together with transcripts. The tape recordings and video of Mr Hanoun's witness interviews were not played to the court other than very small excerpts. While a full transcript of those interviews was available and used in cross-examination it was not produced to the court.
In the cases of Sergeant Selman and others recently acquitted at court martial, whether any of the sworn and signed statements made to the investigating police authority by compatriots of the alleged victim and relied on by the prosecuting authority in reaching its decision to prosecute failed to be sustained at trial. [HL6187]
Lord Goldsmith: Mr Hanoun was called as a witness for the prosecution, he gave evidence over a number of days during the course of which he substantiated the allegations he had made and repeated the information set out in his statements that had been relied on by the prosecuting authority in reaching its decision. In addition to the material collated by the investigating team, the prosecution disclosed to the accused documentation prepared in respect of the compensation claim (made by the family of the deceased and supported by Mr Hanoun), which provided slightly different accounts that were at odds with the witness statements. Extensive cross-examination drew out the
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inconsistencies between the accounts that had been given and emphasised the inconsistencies that there were in Mr Hanoun's evidence.
In the cases of Sergeant Selman and others recently acquitted at court martial, on what evidence the prosecuting authority relied in reaching its decision to prosecute, other than statements made under caution by the accused and sworn and signed statements made by compatriots of the alleged victim. [HL6211]
Two experienced Queen's Counsel also separately considered the evidence and advised the Army Prosecuting Authority that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the case. The judge advocate in the court martial himself held that there was evidence on which a properly directed jury could convict the accused by throwing out a defence submission that there was insufficient evidence for three out of the four guardsmen to proceed with the trial.
In the cases of Sergeant Selman and others recently acquitted at court martial, whether any communication passed directly or indirectly between the prosecuting authority and the Law Officers in connection with these cases. [HL6212]
Lord Goldsmith: As this was a case of manslaughter alleged to have been committed by servicemen serving in Iraq, the APA consulted the Attorney-General at the time the decision to prosecute was taken and kept him informed of the progress of the case through meetings and correspondence. The decision to prosecute was that of the APA, supported by advice of independent leading counsel. The decision to prosecute was that of the Army Prosecuting Authority supported by opinion of independent leading counsel.
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Lord Rooker: Complete conviction statistics involving knives are not available, as data are not collated relating to weapons used in the commission of an offence. Table 1, however, provides the number of convictions for offences which, by their title, specify the involvement of an offensive weapon.
Figures for the calendar years 1999 to 2003 are included, the latter being the most up-to-date available at present. Data are collated on the principal offence rule, thus only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.
|Armed with offensive weapon with intent to commit offence||28||1||1||0||2|
|Possessing offensive weapon in public place||125||117||108||143||161|
|Possessing article with blade or point in public place||2||7||9||17||15|
|Selling offensive weapon||1||0||0||0||0|
|Possessing instrument with intent to commit offence||1||1||0||1||0|
|Possessing offensive weapon on school premises||0||0||0||0||0|
|Possessing article with blade or point on school premises||0||0||0||0||1|
Further to the remarks by the Lord Bassam of Brighton on 13 December 2000 (Official Report, col. 1361) on the review on when criminal assets should be frozen when the review was completed; what its main conclusions were; and whether they will place a copy of the review in the Library of the House. [HL6463]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The relevant criminal legislation to which Lord Bassam of Brighton referred was reviewed as part of the Proceeds of CrimeConsultation on Draft Legislation which was published and a copy placed in the House Library in March 2001 (Command Paper 5066). New and strengthened powers on the restraint and recovery of criminal assets were subsequently introduced in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Under the Act, suspected criminal assets can be restrained at the point of commencement of a police or other law enforcement investigation rather than at
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point of charge. This measure helps to prevent the potential dissipation of assets. In the international context, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (External Requests and Orders) Order will help facilitate the repatriation of stolen assets, in response to a request from an overseas authority, by enabling assets situated in England and Wales to be restrained at an early stage. The order came into effect on 1 January and makes similar provisions for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
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