HC Deb 23 April 1968 vol 763 cc179-80

Order for Second Reading read.

10.32 p.m.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Arthur Irvine)

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

The position in Northern Ireland in relation to criminal appeals is similar to our own, and, accordingly, the same need has arisen to consolidate the relevant Acts. Here again, the Joint Committee of the two Houses has considered the Bill, has made certain amendments, and reports that the Bill, as amended, is pure consolidation and represents the existing law. I recommend the Bill to the House.

It will be a matter of some interest to the House that this is the first consolidation proposed to our Parliament at Westminster which deals solely with the law in Northern Ireland.

10.33 p.m.

Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)

This is a consolidation Measure similar to that which we have just debated, though this time in respect of Northern Ireland.

It is a matter of some interest, as the Solicitor General said, that this is our first consolidation Bill at the request of the Northern Ireland Parliament. But it has the same defect in Clause 55(2), which brings the Bill into operation on the same day as Section 98 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1967 is brought into operation. As I showed in the previous debate, Section 98 has already been brought into operation by Statutory Instrument No. 1234 of 1967.

Lest it be thought that the Statutory Instrument applies only to England and Wales, I draw attention to the heading: Criminal Procedure, England and Wales Criminal Procedure, Northern Ireland. There is the same defect here, namely, that we are now asked to give a Second Reading to a Bill which contains a Clause stating that it shall come into operation on a date which has already passed.

There is a second criticism of this consolidation. In the Long Title it is said that the Bill seeks to …consolidate the enactments relating to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Northern Ireland, the jurisdiction of the Court and appeals therefrom to the House of Lords. Therefore, it relates only to appeals to and from the Court of Criminal Appeal in Northern Ireland. It omits two forms of appeal and is not, therefore, a consolidation Measure relating to all criminal appeals from Northern Ireland courts. It omits to deal with appeals from a Divisional Court of the Queen's Bench Division in Northern Ireland to the House of Lords and it omits to deal with appeals from that Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland (as distinct from that Court of Criminal Appeal) to the House of Lords.

It is unfortunate that it does not cover all forms of criminal appeals and is, therefore, not a full consolidation Bill on this subject.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House—[Mr. Gourlay.]

Committee Tomorrow.