HC Deb 26 June 1967 vol 749 cc83-4
38. Mr. More

asked the Attorney-General whether his attention has been drawn to the recent case of Goody v. Odhams Press; and what steps he is proposing to take to remove the present legal anomalies which made possible the bringing of this case.

The Attorney-General

The Law Reform Committee is at present considering, as part of its review of the law of evidence, whether or not a criminal conviction should be admissible in evidence in subsequent civil proceedings, including, of course, libel proceedings. I have no doubt that the Committee will have the decision in Goody v. Odhams Press well in mind.

Mr. More

Why have the Government in the past 12 months been deliberately blocking a Bill of mine which won a place in the Ballot and which is to deal with Press freedom, particularly the anomalies that oppress the newspapers of this country, including those to which this case has drawn attention?

The Attorney-General

I have indicated that the matter has been under the consideration of this highly-powered and expert Committee, and its report may be received shortly.

Mr. Hogg

As both the cases referred to in the Question and a subsequent case were adverted to in the Court of Appeal, will the Government act on the report if it is positive?

The Attorney-General

We shall wait to see it, but a report emanating from this source carries very great weight. Indeed, the Government have been endeavouring to give effect to reports from this source in the course of the past 2½ years.