HC Deb 16 May 1968 vol 764 cc1391-2
27. Mr. Carlisle

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in the light of the decision in the recent case of Warner versus Metropolitan Police Commissioner, he will introduce legislation to amend the law relating to the possession of dangerous drugs.

Mr. Callaghan

I am instituting, in conjunction with the Law Commission, a full examination of the law relating to possession of drugs. I shall consider the need for legislation when this review is complete and I have also received the report of the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence on cannabis.

Mr. Carlisle

I am most grateful to the Home Secretary for that Answer. Will he bear in mind in making that inquiry that a great many hon. Members on both sides of the House deplore the introduction of criminal offences which are absolute in their terms and which lay people open to special penalty without even the necessity of proving that they know they are committing an offence?

Mr. Callaghan

It is because of my concern about what seems to have been happening recently that I decided that the time had come to make a review of this sort. I am grateful to the hon. Member for what he has said.

Mr. Hogg

We welcome the review which the right hon. Gentleman has announced. Will he draw the attention of the Law Commission to the fact that this problem is not limited to drug offences but to a wide range of offences which purport to be absolute in other fields?

Mr. Callaghan

Yes, Sir. I am sure the Law Commission will take that into account. I am asking it specifically on the subject of drugs to work in conjunction with the Home Office, but I realise that the problem of absolute offences goes much wider.

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