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Lord Goldsmith: I am grateful to both the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, and to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, for their general observations. I am particularly grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, for saying that the issue is really not about the principle but how the principle should be applied. We shall consider that in later amendments. Therefore, I shall not say anything further about the reason for this part until we reach the more detailed provisions. I hope that the Committee will understand that. At that stage, I want to come back to the point rightly and powerfully made by the noble Baroness about the effect on families of certain of the cases we are discussing.
Lord Neill of Bladen: Before the noble and learned Lord proceeds any further, will he indicate what he considers would be the appropriate point for any Member of the Committee, such as myself, who wishes to raise the general principle that has just been touched on by two speakers to do so? Is there any particular slot where that would be appropriate? Otherwise, I should like to speak now before the noble and learned Lord finishes his comments on the technicalities. I gathered he had it in mind that there would be such an opportunity.
Lord Goldsmith: I am the last person to advise the noble Lord when he should speak. Specific amendments relate to whether the provision should be retrospective, for example, the amendment spoken to by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, about the offences which should be covered. Those are probably the two most appropriate points at which more general observations might fit in, but I do not stop anyone speaking at any point if he or she considers it helpful to do so.
Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws: I, too, should like to speak to the general principles at some point. It would be helpful if the Attorney-General indicated when would be the best time to do so. We are happy to take guidance from those who are leading the debate.
Lord Goldsmith: I hope that I can help the Committee. I understand and appreciate the way the matter has been expressed by my noble friend and by the noble Lord, Lord Neill of Bladen. I believe that Amendment No. 134 in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, which we shall reach shortly, and which raises the question of retrospectivity, would be a good point at which to comment more generally on the clause.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Although it is most courteous for noble Lords to give advance notice of clause stand part debates, that is not required, so Members of the Committee could speak on that if they wished to do so.
Lord Goldsmith: I have not dealt with Amendment No. 133P at all yet. I shall describe the position in relation to Scotland. The noble Baroness is absolutely right to say that the effect of the way in which the Bill is presented to the House is that, if there is an acquittal in Scotland, it would not be open to the Court of Appeal in England to grant leave for a further trial in that case. At least at the moment, the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Parliament have not decided that they wish to introduce to Scots law the changes brought about by Part 10.
The Government strongly take the view that it would be inappropriate to seek to include acquittals by Scottish courts in the scope of cases which may be retried under Part 10. Criminal law in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Executive and Scottish Parliament. That is the result of the arrangements for devolution, which were approved by this House. Because under those arrangements criminal law is a matter for the Scots, it would not be appropriate in the Government's view to attempt to overcome that issue by applying the measures to Scottish acquittals. That is how the matter would be perceivedput shortly, that this Parliament would, as it were, allow a right of appeal in an English court to overturn a Scottish acquittal. That is why Scotland is in that position.
As the noble Baroness rightly said, Clause 89 applies the relevant provisions to Northern Ireland. Therefore there would be no difficulty should, for example, further evidence come to light of a new and compelling nature sufficient to justify an application under this part of the then Act in Northern Ireland when there has been an acquittal in Northern Ireland. It seems to me that there is no reason why, if that evidence has come to light in England or Wales, that evidence could not properly and indeed most appropriately be passed to the prosecuting authority in Northern Ireland, for that authority to consider whether to proceed. I see no difficulty about that.
I shall take away for further consideration the issue of whether there still remains a gap. It is not obvious to me that there is, in practical terms, but I shall certainly give further thought to it.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord for his general guidance with regard to how Members of the Committee may address the general issues. I only laid out the barest guidance on that in referring to the approach that we on these Benches were taking. We will have opportunities as we go through other amendments to look at each and every objection in detail, and how they might or might not be overcome.
I am particularly grateful to the Minister for addressing the detail of the technicality of the amendments, and for his offer to look again in case there is some lacuna with regard to Northern Ireland. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Baroness said: In moving the amendment, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 133U, which is supported by the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford. They are also probing amendments and relate to subsections (4) and (5) of Clause 69.
On subsection (4), will the Minister confirm my understanding of the drafting, which is that courts in England and Wales would have the jurisdiction to retry a qualifying offence no matter where in the world it occurred? Will the Minister reveal what discussions there have been with authorities in other jurisdictions? Could he confirm my understanding that, although there have been discussions, no conclusions have been reached so far? It is important to know how those measures will be implemented. Does the Minister yet have any idea of which jurisdictions would agree or refuse an extradition request for a suspect in such circumstances, because of their own rules against double jeopardy?
In Standing Committee in another place on 16th January, the Under-Secretary of State, Mr Hilary Benn, said that he was not aware of any discussions at that stage with foreign authorities about the effects of that part of the Bill. I understood that the Government intended to take part in such discussions. Will the Minister update us on those?
We referred to some of those matters when we debated that part of the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill on which the noble and learned Lord responded on behalf of the Government. Although it is a little while ago now, they were such exciting exchanges that I am sure they are still fresh in his mind.
Alternatively, do the words relate not to how an offence is classifiedwhether it is administrative or criminal, for examplebut to the names given to particular offences? In another place, that seemed to be what the then Minister, Mr Hilary Benn, was hinting at, when he said in Standing Committee on 16th January at col. 392:
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