HC Deb 16 April 1959 vol 603 cc1122-3
21. Mr. Fitch

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has considered the recommendation contained in paragraph 126 of the Wolfenden Report; and, in view of the confusion caused by the overlapping of Clause 13 of the Sexual Offences Act, 1956, and certain local byelaws relating to acts of indecency and in order to remove doubt on the matter, if he will introduce legislation to clarify the existing law.

Mr. Renton

My right hon. Friend indicated in the debate on the Wolfenden Report on 26th November last that the Government did not consider that they would be justified at present in introducing legislation to implement the recommendation in Part 2 of the Committee's Report. My right hon. Friend is not prepared to introduce separate legislation to deal with this particular point.

Mr. Fitch

Would the Joint Under-Secretary agree that it appears to be a matter of chance whether a man is charged under a local government byelaw with a maximum penalty of £5 or under the Sexual Offences Act with a maximum penalty of two years? In view of this disparity, surely some legislation is needed.

Mr. Renton

Yes, as the Wolfenden Committee said, the position is not entirely satisfactory, but it is not a point we think necessary to cover urgently by a special Bill.

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