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The Earl of Onslow: My Lords, I have a terrible suspicion that, regrettably, the hopes of the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, will be dashed. Last night the Government were determined to introduce
Undoubtedly, the Government have panicked and produced rotten, lousy legislation. We might get somewhere if only we could persuade some of the more libertarian Tory Members of the House to vote for the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Phillips. The noble Lord has provided a rescue helicopter for the Government. Here is a lovely way to identify the guilty, prosecute them and punish them in a way that deters others. If that leads to a lack of hooliganism in this country it may be translated into a lack of hooliganism overseas. I wish that I had not heard as much as I did last night, which was depressing beyond peradventure.
Lord Desai: My Lords, much as I admire the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, as a civil libertarian, I cannot understand his amendment. It emerged last night in debate that the use of extra-territoriality to deal with football offences is a step too far. The noble Lord has, as it were, internalised his rhetoric against football hooligans and sought to provide a super-solution which is more violent than the Government's proposals.
Noble Lords will be aware that I do not like the Bill. I believe that the Government make too much of the issue of football violence. Be that as it may, to extend the concept of extra-territoriality, which is normally concerned with serious offences like paedophilia, to football hooliganism is very worrisome.
I should like to ask three questions to aid my understanding since I am not a lawyer. First, I do not know whether under subsection (3) of the noble Lord's amendment a British citizen who is resident abroad is subject to extra-territoriality. Secondly, the noble Lord said that if the French wanted to punish football hooligans, so be it; we should not bother. However, I see nothing in the noble Lord's amendment to prevent double jeopardy. If the French punished football hooligans and the British press reported the presence of English thugs abroad those individuals could be punished here on their return. Thirdly, I put a question to my noble friend purely out of curiosity. I believe that the Bill does nothing to prevent English football fans from travelling to an international game in the Republic of Ireland via Northern Ireland. Perhaps my reading of the legislation is entirely wrong. However, one does not need a passport to visit Northern Ireland,
Lord Monson: My Lords, I opposed a broadly similar amendment last night and shall not weary noble Lords by repeating my arguments this afternoon. I spoke at about 11.25 p.m. and so my reasons are already in print--in the unlikely event that anyone will be remotely interested. Of far more interest is that at least two noble and learned Lords have opposed the amendment, largely on the ground that it is undesirable to create extra-territorial offences over and above the very limited grave offences of murder and sexual offences against children. Despite the very persuasive arguments of the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Desai, that this is a step too far. As I said at Second Reading, I believe that a better way to deal with the matter is to encourage more prosecutions on the Continent by offering to accommodate and feed convicted prisoners in this country, as the law already provides.
The noble Lord, Lord McNally, in reply to criticisms last night suggested that the Liberal Democrat amendment was the lesser of two evils as compared with Sections 21A and 21B. That is so. I do not, however, see why we should put up with either of them, provided that at Third Reading tomorrow we can have another go at watering down Section 21A, even though we are no longer in a position completely to defeat it.
Viscount Astor: My Lords, this is the last amendment to be dealt with today which we debated yesterday. All of the amendments to be dealt with after this were debated earlier today. That gives noble Lords a small advantage, in that the report of that debate is now available. There is a draft of Hansard in the Library, as the Government Chief Whip informed us earlier, but there is only one copy of it. When I sought to steal it I had to return it rather rapidly. I have not had an opportunity to study it. Therefore, it is not able to assist us in later debates. However, for the purposes of this amendment we have the benefit of the report of the debate last night.
When the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, moved his amendment last night I had some sympathy for it. However, two noble and learned Lords pointed out that the amendment gave rise to problems. The noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, has returned with subsection (3). Since I am not a lawyer, perhaps when the Minister winds up he will inform me whether that subsection deals with the question raised by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick; namely, whether if a Belgian hooligan arrived in this country for, say, a holiday he could be arrested when he next came to the UK and be made subject to an English banning order.
We are aware that extra-territorial jurisdiction works for serious offences. There are provisions to deal with terrorism as between this country and the Republic of Ireland, and there are also provisions to deal with paedophiles. However, there is concern as to whether, if we suddenly widen the power to include this specific offence, we shall begin a new trend.
My noble friend Lord Onslow was concerned about someone who hurled a brick in the Champs Elysees. Most of my noble friend's analogies last night concerned that part of Paris, which says something about his holiday destinations and the style that he adopts when there. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord McNally, has also been to the Champs Elysees--or even the Left Bank. Perhaps Montmartre is more suitable. The Government could reassure noble Lords in one respect. Last night we asked what the Government were doing to encourage prosecutions in the country where the offences were committed.
I do not want to repeat the debate. From listening to the noble Lord, Lord Woolmer, we know that many of the vast numbers of people arrested were simply caught up in the sweep. Nevertheless, out of those vast numbers there have been only three prosecutions. The view on the Continent seems to be, "Arrest them; put them on the train and ferry; get rid of them as quickly as possible and we don't have to deal with them". That must be unsatisfactory. The Government said that they wanted people to be prosecuted. However, the Minister did not say what help the Government were giving to encourage prosecuting authorities in those countries. Noble Lords might be reassured if the Minister were able to do so. The Minister said that there would be difficulties. If someone were prosecuted because he was filmed on CCTV would the Government have access to that film? These are not strong reasons. Reasons of principle are perhaps stronger arguments against the amendment.
We started off by being sympathetic to the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury. However, we are concerned about creating a whole new raft of extra-territorial offences. Therefore we shall listen to the Minister's reply with an open mind. It would help if the noble Lord could expand on how the Government can encourage the conviction of more hooligans in the country where the offence is committed.
Baroness Ludford: My Lords, I support my noble friend's amendment which fits into an increasing trend in the European Union towards mutual assistance in criminal matters. The amendment concentrates on gaining convictions--a point that we on these Benches have made consistently. As regards the lesser of two evils, when attempting to steer a path between the devil of continental deportations and the deep blue sea of summary justice it seems valid to provide for a practical and effective way forward.
The noble Viscount, Lord Astor, makes a valid point about seeking to ensure that the Belgian authorities gain convictions. The problem is that that aim is more in our self interest than that of the Belgians. It will always be easier to deport. After all, that country has had the expense of keeping people in
The problems regarding access to evidence could also be addressed within the EU context. It was one of the areas identified for greater effort at the summit meeting of heads of government on justice and home affairs last October in Tampere in Finland. It is not necessarily a question of the harmonisation of criminal law--that alarms many people--but of mutual assistance and more recognition regarding convictions and orders relating to evidence.
That is a good way forward. The convictions can be secured in Belgium, Holland, France, or wherever. Alternatively, recognising that it is more in our interests than those of the other countries, we should consider the evidence collected and secure convictions at home. I believe that this is one of a narrow range of offences for which extra-territoriality should be considered.
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