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The noble Lord, Lord Phillips, kindly spoke to the amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway. We take the view that those amendments are unnecessary. It is obviously necessary that the respondent shall have a clear idea of the matters to be alleged against him where an application for a football banning order is heard. We intend to prepare a standard form for the application and in due course to incorporate it into the magistrates' courts rules. That seems the most sensible way. However, I fear that we cannot promise that a copy of the application shall be served on the respondent at least 14 days before the hearing of the application, as would be required by Amendment No. 31. If a local police force became aware just a few days before a football tournament that a local troublemaker with no previous record of football disorder was proposing to attend, the powers in new Sections 21A and 21B could be relevant. In those circumstances, a 14-day rule would become impractical.
When a standard form for the application is prepared, the question of time limits will need to be carefully explored. In the meantime, I invite the noble Lord to withdraw that amendment on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway.
Amendment No. 34 would create uncertainty where currently there is none. The courts are well used to applying the civil standard of proof. To invent a new test just for this purpose seems to be unnecessary. It will prevent the imposition of banning orders in at least some cases where the civil standard of proof would be satisfied. That is in our view entirely undesirable. Therefore, we cannot support that amendment. We do not think that it would be conducive to securing the objectives of the legislation.
The noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, spoke to Amendment No. 47. He raised what seemed a sensible point. However, there is an explanation and I shall endeavour to give it. The noble Lord asked why there was a reference to Section 15(2A) of the 1989 Act in new Section 14C(5). Subsection (5) is there apparently to ensure that where a court on conviction has had power to make a banning order but does not do so, a subsequent court on an application by complaint must take account of the grounds on which the earlier court made that decision. That would have been by virtue of Section 15(2A). This is a safeguard apparently for the individual. The section refers to a statement under new Section 14A(3) which will replace Section 15. But in
Lord Goodhart: I am grateful to the Minister for giving way. I still think that there is a drafting problem. If one considers the legislation as it will be after the amendments have been incorporated, there will be no "Section 15(2A) below". The Bill needs to be redrafted to make some reference to Section 15(2A) in the Act as it existed before it was amended.
Lord McNally: I make two brief points on Amendment No. 34. The noble Lord, Lord Woolmer, urged us earlier against putting too much emphasis on the numbers deported from Charleroi implying that a number were innocents caught up in a general hoovering up by the Belgian police. Yet he now seems to imply that at Charleroi there is evidence which could be used in the banning order. That dilemma concerns us, which is why we want provision made for a criminal conviction. The Bill is very subjective as it stands.
It is increasingly clear that we would not have this legislation--certainly not in this helter-skelter, end-of-Session way--but for Charleroi, yet that was not the only game in Euro 2000 in which England was involved. One wonders whether poor policing and different access to alcohol were factors.
We must not think of the Bill as elephant powder. Your Lordships may recall the story of the man found by his friend to be throwing powder over the ground. Asked why, the man replied, "It keeps the elephants away". His friend said, "There isn't an elephant within 500 miles". The man replied, "I know. Isn't it marvellous stuff?" There seems to be a feeling among Ministers that if they sprinkle the elephant powder that is the Bill, disorder will disappear.
The Minister and I are in agreement that the Bill may work--but only as part of a package that covers better policing, access to alcohol and a range of related matters such as the media and the behaviour of the police and footballers. The noble Lord, Lord Monson, has urged us to return to the issue tomorrow. We certainly will. My noble friend Lord Phillips has passed me a message saying, "Extra-territoriality will deal with the Woolmer point". He will return to that tomorrow as well. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Lord said: Amendments Nos. 27 and 29 have the intention of raising the hurdle that has to be cleared under new Section 14B(2). Banning somebody who just contributes to violence or disorder is to set the hurdle very low. One can get caught up in a demonstration in which others are throwing stones and the police decide to react--as was shown by the poll tax or miners' strike demonstrations. One thinks also of the involvement of the noble Baroness, Lady Dean, in various activities against Murdoch at Wapping. Using "contributed" without a qualifying adverb puts the test far too low.
To leave the words "any violence or disorder" unqualified invites a low test in regard to someone who may have done little. He or she might have made a rude or abusive comment to a policeman who was causing inconvenience in their drunken progress down a street--the person, not the policeman. One can be tripped up by a little thing. It seems to me that we are talking about people who have done something serious.
I have no particular attachment to these words, nor do I have an attachment to a clause which gathers in such a wide variety of ordinary misdemeanours and discretions that should not qualify a person for attention under it. I beg to move.
Lord Cope of Berkeley: It is not a novel point, but we are faced with an extremely low hurdle. Under the definition of "disorder", the provision will affect not only the person who suggests that the referee needs a new pair of glasses but also somebody who laughs at that person. In laughing, that person will encourage the first person to make another similar remark. That is contributing to someone making an insulting remark. No series of actions is involved, making the hurdle extremely low.
Lord Monson: I support the noble Lords, Lord Cope and Lord Lucas. Often one hears of cases, perhaps second hand, of generally peaceful demonstrators who have never used violence but who on seeing a women pushed by a policeman instinctively rush to help her and push the policeman away. That is totally out of character with no violent intent; it is just gallant behaviour instinctively coming to the fore. They would be caught by the wording as it stands. I believe that the amendment is valuable.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: At this early hour of the morning, I am grateful to the noble Lord for speeding things up a little. I am casting my mind back to when I worked in a law centre in the early 1980s. We occasionally provided legal aid, support and advice to people involved in demonstrations against the National Front. From time to time we had to help to perfect a defence and there were occasions on which I thought the police had been a fraction over zealous in affecting an arrest. I cannot remember our success rate, but it was not poor. In those days, the courts were probably more reluctant than they are now to come to the aid of a defendant.
On reflection, I thought that in most circumstances the cases were resolved satisfactorily. We were able to put our arguments effectively and where there was a good case, we were able to secure an acquittal. I am struck by the fact that the court must now satisfy itself, as it had to then, that, on the evidence of an officer, the defendant played a leading role in provoking, inciting or encouraging violence of the kind that led the officer originally to make the arrest.
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