HC Deb 18 April 1975 vol 890 cc854-5
Mr. Hardy

I beg to move Amendment No. 18, in page 5, line 13, at end insert: 'and the forfeiture of anything capable of being used for the taking or killing of protected wild creatures found in the possession of that person '. I consider that the courts should have the capacity to order the forfeiture of the equipment which is used in committing an offence under the Bill. I am not suggesting that the courts should automatically order forfeiture, but they should certainly have the option. Some people today make quite a lot of money out of trading in threatened species and it is reasonable that the instruments of their profit, if it is a profit made by an illegal action, should certainly be considered by the courts. If it is felt that further offences would be carried out if the individual continued to possess this equipment, the courts should be able to enforce the law by ordering that forfeiture.

Hon. Members can imagine the sort of equipment which may be used. It may be that it is simple and inexpensive apparatus, but it could be that it is apparatus which is not easily obtained and which is quite expensive. Whether or not it is easily obtained or expensive, if it is equipment which is used in the furtherance of an offensive action which could be extremely irresponsible in character, the courts should be able to take steps to see that the individual does not use that equipment again.

There is a parallel here with the powers of the court under the Firearms Act and the Badgers Act. It would be logical for that kind of power to be extended to the Bill. No one suggests that the courts should act in a Draconian way, but this is a necessary power if there is to be an adequate deterrent for the hooligans and the irresponsible in our society.

Amendment agreed to.

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