HC Deb 30 July 1956 vol 557 cc1074-7

Lords Amendment: In page 21, line 8, leave out "subsection (1)" and insert: the powers conferred by subsection (2)".

Mr. Deedes

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

This Amendment is consequential on the introduction of the new Clause F. Under Section 46 of the 1930 Act, as it stands, the maximum penalties for the contravention of an Order made under that Section are a fine of £5 for the first offence and of £10 for the second or subsequent offence. Clause 21 (1) of the Bill provides that a fine imposed for contravention of an Order under Section 46 (1) may be of an amount not exceeding £20 for the first conviction and of £50 for a subsequent offence. Subsection 46 (1) is, however, to be repealed by the new Clause F, and Orders will, in future, be made only under Section 46 (2) of the 1930 Act.

In these circumstances, a change in Clause 21 (1) was necessary, but it was felt that there was no real ground for distinguishing between Orders made under Section 46 and that the maximum penalties for offences against all such Orders should be the same. The object of this Amendment, therefore, is to apply the new maxima of £20 for the first offence and of £50 for subsequent offences to the contravention of all Orders under Section 46.

Lords Amendment: In page 21, line 13, at end insert: (2) In subsection (1) of section six of the Act of 1930 (which provides for disqualifications for holding a licence, and for the endorsement of licences, on conviction of criminal offences in connection with the driving of a motor vehicle, other than offences under Part IV of that Act) for the reference to any such offence as aforesaid there shall be substituted a reference to the offences specified in the Schedule (Offences in respect of which Disqualification or Endorsement may be ordered) to this Act. (3) Without prejudice to the powers conferred by the said subsection (1), so much of the Act of 1930 as provides that a person convicted of an offence shall be, or shall be ordered to be, disqualified for holding or obtaining a licence shall not apply to a person convicted of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring, or inciting to, the commission of the offence.

Mr. Deedes

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

This Amendment, I think, may be found helpful by courts and all who have to administer the criminal law relating to the driving of motor vehicles. It should really be read in conjunction with the new Schedule A, which is the substance behind it. The Amendment is designed to remove doubts which now exist, and, which might well be increased, by certain changes which the Bill is making as to what the offences are for which the court can exercise its discretionary powers under Section 6 (1) of the 1930 Act, of disqualifying the convicted person from driving and ordering his licence to be endorsed. At the moment the exercise of these powers depends upon the question whether the offence is a criminal offence in connection with the driving of a motor vehicle. The Amendment, I would stress, will in no way affect the provisions of any Section which makes the disqualification for a particular offence compulsory either by making it an automatic consequence of the conviction or by requiring the court to order disqualification.

11.0 p.m.

The new subsection (3) has been added to remove doubts which have been expressed about the disqualification of persons convicted of aiding, abetting, counselling, procuring or inciting the commission of offences which are offences in respect of which disqualification is compulsory. The short answer is that such a person is not subject to compulsory disqualification merely because the provision of the law that creates that offence makes disqualification for that offence compulsory upon conviction. It is, however, provided that this is to be without prejudice to the power of the court under Section 6 (1) to order the aider or abettor to be disqualified.

I hope that the House will feel willing to welcome this Amendment which is, I think, a clarification and which, as I began by saying, may be of assistance to the courts and indeed to all who have to administer justice in relation to motoring offences.

Mr. C. Pannell

I have been trying to reconcile this Amendment with the new Schedule "A"—(Offences in respect of which disqualification or endorsement may be ordered) I thought I understood it until one of my hon. Friends with great knowledge of this matter told me that parking offences now fall under disqualification, which may cause the licence to be endorsed. Am I right in assuming that persistent parking offences are not the sort of offences for which one may have one's licence endorsed?

Mr. Page

This Amendment is extremely beneficial, and I am grateful to my hon. Friend for including in this an Amendment which I moved in Committee but which I was then told was quite unnecessary. It related to disqualifications and endorsements for pedestrian crossing offences by drivers. I see that those are now included in the Schedule.

The question I want to ask is whether any existing endorseable offences are omitted. Is this merely a codification of the present law, or are any of those offences for which endorsement or disqualification can be imposed omitted from this Schedule? My hon. Friend assured us that this does not alter the case of compulsory endorsement or compulsory disqualification, but I want to know whether it makes any other alteration.

Mr. George Isaacs (Southwark)

I think that this Schedule—which I have heard referred to as a "skedule" by one of my hon. Friends but which I believe is called a "schedule"—will be very useful to those who have to administer this Bill. It will make it unnecessary to wade through all the different Clauses to find out what one can and cannot do.

I should like to mention a matter to which an hon. Member opposite referred. I understand that this does not remove any existing powers of disqualification, but I fancy that it has added one or two which otherwise were not completely covered. The fact that this matter is covered in the Schedule will be of great assistance to those who have to administer this Measure.

Mr. Deedes

First, may I say that parking offences are not in the Schedule and do not lead to disqualification? I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) feels that we have stolen a march on him, but I can assure him that this is a codification designed for clarification and to assist those who are concerned with the administration of justice.

Lords Amendment agreed to: In page 21, line 19, at end insert: committed in respect of motor vehicles".