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Baroness Anelay of St. Johns: My Lords, I certainly was not in any way trying to criticise the Home Secretary for taking a stern attitude towards youth crime. The point raised with me by lawyers and probation officers was, strictly speaking, confined to those cases where young people had been arrested for offences which of themselves could not carry a custodial sentence. They were concerned that, pending trial, a person would be held in custody and that it would appear contradictory that, after trial, that person could not receive that kind of punishment. I do not put forward
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I entirely accept that the noble Baroness is not being critical, and neither was I being critical of her observation. It is a perfectly legitimate question properly raised. I believe that my answer was a proper one to give. Sometimes there are circumstances when apparently draconian consequences are justified in the reasonable and legitimate public interest and are actually of benefit to young children who are otherwise drifting very fast indeed into drug-induced, drug-related crime and who will be prison fodder in years to come.
I have overrun my time by four minutes, for which I respectfully beg your Lordships' pardon. I shall review Hansard carefully in the morning. There will be specific matters which I readily recognise I have not dealt with because the questions came on me thick and fast and 19 minutes was simply not enough. I repeat again my gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Hacking, for raising this matter. It is one that we shall return to time and time again in the currency of this Parliament. I reiterate that the subject is too important for political knockabout.
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