HC Deb 29 June 1972 vol 839 c1647
14. Mr. Ellis

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to provide that judges be obliged to take evidence from defence lawyers when asked by police prosecutors for a voluntary bill of indictment to transfer a case from a lower court to a higher court after the lower court has started its hearing.

Mr. Carlisle

The Government have no immediate plans for amending the relevant rules, but the question will be kept under review.

Mr. Ellis

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that some people in Wales are coming to feel that bills of indictment are being granted like dog licences on application to one prosecuting lawyer? Does he not think, in view of a recent disturbing case, that the advice of lawyers on both sides of a case, let alone the magistrates concerned, should be sought before a bill of indictment is granted?

Mr. Carlisle

If that is so, there must be very few dogs in Wales since I understand that the bill of indictment procedure has been used on three occasions. The procedure has always been that application is made by the prosecution and there is no specific provision under the rules for the defence to be heard in an application to a High Court judge. But we will keep the question under review.