Lords amendment: No. 27, before clause 33, insert the following new clause—
. — (1) It is an offence for a person, with the intention—
(2) It is also an offence for a person, with any such intention as is mentioned in paragraph (a), (c) or (d) of subsection (1), to threaten that he or another will do, or to claim that he or another has done, any of the acts mentioned' in that subsection.
(3) It is an offence for a person to be in possession of any of the following articles with a view to the commission of an offence under subsection (1)—
(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—
(5) In this section "goods" includes substances whether natural or manufactured and whether or not incorporated in or mixed with other goods.
(6) The reference in subsection (2) to a person claiming that certain acts have been committed does not include a person who in good faith reports or warns that such acts have been, or appear to have been, committed.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.
The amendment is interesting because it introduces a new criminal offence to strengthen the law to deal with the contamination of consumer goods and associated threats and claims. The House will no doubt be aware that in recent years there have been a number of incidents involving the contamination of food products and other consumer goods. It is notable that many such acts have been carried out by members of extremist organisations, who have attempted to force companies to change their policies, for example, in relation to research on animals. In other cases the motive has been simple extortion.
The perpetrators seek to cast doubts on the wholesomeness of large quantities of a company's products. For obvious reasons it is not possible for a company to check each and every one of its products, and therefore it may have no alternative but to empty its shelves and destroy large stocks. This can obviously cause large-scale economic losses.
The law already contains a number of provisions which apply to the circumstances which we have witnessed in recent years, but none of them were designed to deal primarily with the mischief that I have mentioned. I hope that the House will agree to the amendment, which I commend to it.
§ Question put and agreed to.