§ The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Malcolm Rifkind)
I beg to move amendment No. 5, in page 3, line 8, after ' ineligible ', insert ' or not qualified'.
§ Mr. Rifkind
When the Bill was being considered in Committee, the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) pointed out that, while there were certain penalties imposed for a person who was ineligible to serve on a jury, no such reference was made to one who was not qualified but who, despite that, served on a jury. The hon. Member's point was well founded and this amendment seeks to remedy that matter.
Government amendment No. 5 is designed to ensure that the validity of a verdict cannot be challenged on the ground that one of the jurors was not qualified in terms of clause 1 (1). The effect of Government amendment No. 1 is that there should be the same penalty for serving on a jury when not qualified as there is for doing so when ineligible.
I am sure that these amendments will be acceptable to the House, and I commend them.
§ Mr. Donald Dewar () Glasgow, Garscadden
I thank the Minister for tabling these necessary amendments. I pay tribute to him and to the Solicitor-General for Scotland, because I cannot remember a Bill on which Ministers have been more helpful or obliging. Perhaps this is not the most epoch-making measure, but it has been a useful exercise.
I am also glad that we are imposing a possible fine of £200 rather than £1,000 which at one time I believed was in the 1660 ministerial mind. If one was of evil disposition, one could have a great deal of fun differentiating between a person who was "disqualified" and a person who was "not qualified" for jury service in Scotland. I shall resist the temptation to indulge in theological speculation.
I am grateful to the Minister for clarifying this point, and I promise that I shall say nothing further on this measure.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Amendment made: No. 1, in clause 3, page 4, line 21, after 'ineligible', insert ', or not qualified, '.—[Mr. Rifkind.]