HC Deb 14 July 1986 vol 101 cc789-90
Mr. Wallace

I beg to move amendment No. 10, in page 14, line 43, leave out from 'held' to 'in' in line 1 on page 15.

The amendment deals with criminal legal aid. Clause 21(4)(b) states: Criminal legal aid shall consist of representation, in terms provided for by this Act — … by a solicitor at any identification parade held, by or on behalf of the prosecutor within the meaning of section 462 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975. Since 1980 it has been possible to hold identification parades at the instance of the defence. The simple purpose of the amendment is to allow criminal legal aid to cover those parades as well as parades at the instance of the prosecutor. I do not think that that occurs in many cases, but, as I understand it, criminal legal aid would not be available if an identification parade were held at the instance of the defence, although the person had legal representation. The amendment provides a certain degree of equity in that regard.

Mr. John MacKay

The hon. Gentleman has explained the purpose of the amendment, which is to make sure that automatic legal aid will be available for identification parades which are held at the request of the suspected or accused person, rather than at the instigation of the Crown.

I am happy to assure the hon. Gentleman that the amendment is unnecessary. That is because, as he will see from section 10 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980, which originally added this provision to the legal aid legislation, the strict position is that all identification parades are held by or on behalf of the prosecutor. That is so whether the identification parade follows a decision by the prosecutor or by the police, who are taken to be acting on behalf of the prosecutor, that one is needed; or a request for one by the accused; or, indeed, is held in consequence of an order made by the sheriff under section 10 of the 1980 Act. The advantage of the present wording is that it fits in with that of section 10, and I should have thought that that was helpful.

With that assurance, which I hope the hon. Gentleman will find more comforting this time, I hope he will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Mr. Wallace

I am only too pleased on the strength of that assurance to beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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