HC Deb 21 June 1993 vol 227 cc13-4
25. Mr. Richards

To ask the Attorney-General if he will set out the aims of the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Attorney-General (Sir Nicholas Lyell)

The aim of the Crown Prosecution Service is to undertake a fair and independent review of the evidence in criminal cases and, if proceedings are justified, to prosecute them effectively and efficiently.

Mr. Richards

Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that it is absolutely outrageous that Mr. Tony Evans, an elderly householder who had his home broken into on more than eight occasions and eventually resorted to defending himself and his property with a shotgun, was arrested and faces the possibility of being prosecuted for attempted murder?

The Attorney-General

I am happy to tell my hon. Friend that that is not the case. Any shooting incident must be carefully investigated. It is not for people to take the law into their own hands. The case of Mr. Evans showed the system working exactly as it should. There was a prompt review of the evidence by the Crown Prosecution Service, acting in close consultation with the police, which showed that Mr. Evans had acted only in self defence. The Crown Prosecution Service advised properly and correctly that no charge was appropriate.

Mr. Skinner

Is it one of the aims of the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that, when people such as Asil Nadir, who have connections with the Tory party and who are likely to spill the beans if taken to court, somehow or other manage to get away from Britain to northern Cyprus—almost certainly with help from people in the Establishment—they receive a visit from the Lord Chancellor, who went straight off the Woolsack to see a man who had fled bail? Was the President of the Board of Trade in Venice to meet the ex-treasurer of the Tory party McAlpine?

The Attorney-General

The hon. Gentleman is wandering even more curiously than usual into the realms of fantasy. The notion that my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor went to visit Asil Nadir is ridiculous. As I have said to the hon. Gentleman before, if he has the slightest evidence of criminality in relation to this matter against any person, he should tell the police.

Mr. Thurnham

Will my right hon. and learned Friend review the amount of time that the police have to spend on paperwork for the Crown Prosecution Service, especially in the case of guilty pleas, so that the police can spend their time out on the beat instead of stuck behind their desks?

The Attorney-General

My hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General will answer a question about that matter a little later. But I can tell my hon. Friend that the amount of paperwork was agreed between the police and the CPS when pre-trial issues were considered recently.

Mr. Fraser

As head of the Crown Prosecution Service, can the Attorney-General confirm that he has received up to about nine representations about Mr. Asil Nadir from Members of Parliament and from Ministers? Does not that demonstrate that there is one course of advocacy for those who are rich and donate to the Tory party and another course of conduct for others? I should like the Attorney-General to answer two questions. First, how many of the representations that he received contained declarations of interest in accordance with the practices of the House? Secondly, what advice does he have for Members of Parliament so that when representations are made on such matters they should be entirely above reproach?

The Attorney-General

I receive a large number of representations, sometimes made public and sometimes made in private, from right hon. and hon. Members or members of the public about many prosecutions from time to time. I have no reason to believe that any representations made to me about the case of Mr. Nadir were improperly made. I shall repeat for the hon. Gentleman what I have said many times. If any representation is made to me it will be carefully and dispassionately examined in the appropriate quarters. It is not my policy to publish, where the individual has chosen not to publish, the nature of the representations made.

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