HC Deb 24 July 1959 vol 609 cc1705-6

Lords Amendment: In page 52, line 31, at beginning insert: (A1) Where under any enactment to which this subsection applies any person is ordered to be kept in custody during Her Majesty's pleasure, that person shall, until detained in pursuance of any directions under subsection (1) of this section, be detained in such place of safety as the court may order, and the order shall be sufficient authority for his conveyance to that place.

Mr. Renton

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

The Amendment covers a fairly short but important point. The Clause deals with the Secretary of State's power to make a direction authorising removal to and detention in a hospital in a case in which a person has been ordered by the court to be detained during Her Majesty's pleasure, the accused having been found unfit to plead on arraignment, or guilty but insane. The noble and learned Lord Denning, in correspondence with my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor, called attention to a case of a man who was a patient on licence from an institution for mental defectives, who was charged with an offence and subsequently found by the court to be not fit to plead. It was extremely likely that the Secretary of State would order the defective to be sent back to the hospital in which he had previously been a patient and to which he had been recalled to await trial. The court considered it unfortunate that, as a result of the man being found unfit to plead and being ordered to be detained during Her Majesty's pleasure, he should then have to await the Secretary of State's decision in prison instead of being returned by the court direct to hospital.

The Amendment will enable the court to send such a man direct to hospital if it feels that that is the best thing to be done. I hope that the Amendment will commend itself to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendments agreed to.