§ Mr. Ede
I beg to move, in page 7. line 41, at the end, to insert:and a probationer who is required by the probation order to submit to treatment for his mental condition shall not be treated for the purpose of this Act as having failed to comply with that requirement on the ground only that he has refused to undergo any surgical, electrical or other treatment if, in the opinion of the court, his refusal was reasonable having regard to all the circumstances.This Amendment is moved in accordance with an undertaking given by the Under-Secretary in Committee to consider the inclusion of a provision to the effect that refusal to undergo a surgical operation should not be regarded as a breach of the requirement of a probation order relating to mental treatment. When we were in Committee my hon. Friend drew attention to the difficulty of defining the term "surgical operation" which would apparently include an injection or electrical treatment. In view of this difficulty, it has not been found possible to draft the Amendment so as to provide in terms that refusal to undergo a surgical operation should not be regarded as a breach of the requirement of a probation order relating to mental treatment.
The provision made by the Amendment is that refusal to undergo surgical, electrical or other treatment should not be regarded as such a breach if, in the opinion of the court, the probationer's refusal was reasonable having regard to all the circumstances. It will thus be for the court to decide whether the refusal in any particular case is reasonable or not. After very careful consideration we have come to the conclusion that this is the only way in which we can satisfactorily meet the very strong views that were expressed in the Committee, and I hope that the House, and in particular those hon. Members who served on the Committee, will feel that we have met the points which were raised.
§ Mr. Benson (Chesterfield)
I should like to thank my right hon. Friend for 1229 meeting the point that was raised in Committee. I realise that there are difficulties, and I think that the Clause, as amended, will meet the major point.
§ Amendment agreed to.