HC Deb 16 November 1972 vol 846 c596
17. Mr. Stratton Mills

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will review the Malicious Damage Acts, with a view to seeking powers to extend coverage to categories of genuine loss which are not currently covered either by the Acts or by insurance.

Mr. van Straubenzee

The Criminal Injury Acts (Northern Ireland) 1956–1970 provide a code of law designed specifically to deal with compensation for malicious damage to property. It would be inappropriate to extend that legislation to cover the diverse sources of loss which have arisen either directly or indirectly from unrest in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Mills

Is my hon. Friend aware that hijacking of goods vehicles has become a major problem in Belfast, that it is happening every day and that whisky obtained by that illegal means is now being sold on the open market at £1 a bottle? Is he also aware that in such hijacking the contents of the vehicles are not covered by normal insurance, nor by the Malicious Damage Acts, which do not cover loss and theft? This is an unsatisfactory situation. Could it be looked at again?

Mr. van Straubenzee

I am always very willing to look at such matters continuously, and to discuss them with my hon. Friend, but I know that with his long experience of the law he will understand that the kind of extension of the law that he requires would place a substantial financial burden upon the State.