§ 17. Mr. Fitch
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of a recent decision of the High Court, in which soliciting from behind closed windows constitutes an offence under the Street Offences Act, he will introduce legislation to amend the Act by restoring the need to prove annoyance.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
No, Sir; the reasons why the Government were not prepared to retain the element of annoyance in the offence of soliciting for the purpose of prostitution were fully explained during the discussions on the Street Offences Bill. They are not affected by the case in question.
§ Mr. Fitch
Will not the Home Secretary agree, in view of the recent decision of the High Court, that there is the danger that an innocent woman who might be tapping on her window or talking to a male passer-by could be charged by a suspicious policeman with soliciting, and ought he not to introduce the element of annoyance into the Street Offences Act in order to safeguard the liberty of an innocent person?
§ Mr. Butler
Naturally, I respect the view of the hon. Gentleman that there might be a danger, but I am informed by my advisers that it is very unlikely. I certainly should be wrong if I gave any impression that I proposed to legislate further on this matter.