HC Deb 13 January 1994 vol 235 cc322-3
7. Mr. Couchman

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received regarding jury-nobbling; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd

My right hon. and learned Friend has received no recent representations. We are determined that criminals should not be allowed to escape their just deserts because of interference with jurors. As soon, therefore, as the necessary details can be worked out, we intend to ask the House to approve provisions which, if approved, will allow retrials to be held after proven instances of jury nobbling.

Mr. Couchman

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. Let me add my congratulations on his recent elevation.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the nobbling and intimidation of juries, like the intimidation of witnesses, is a serious abuse of the criminal justice system and seriously undermines justice? Does he agree that the weight of prosecution evidence that now has to be disclosed to defence counsel is leading to an increase in the number of such abuses, and that disclosure needs to be reviewed carefully in accordance with what our senior policemen are telling us?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, of course that is true.

Mrs. Roche

Does the Minister agree that more support schemes for witnesses are needed in the Crown courts to deal with jury nobbling and the intimidation of witnesses? Why are the Government cutting such schemes, rather than expanding them?

Mr. Lloyd

The hon. Lady is entirely wrong; we are expanding them.