§ 3.58 p.m.
§ Committee resumed.
This Amendment is to ensure that whenever a specimen of blood or urine is taken one part of the specimen is given to the accused person in a suitable container. It may well be that the person from whom the specimen is taken would be unaware, or perhaps unmindful, of his right to require a specimen to be supplied to him at the time it is taken. I suggest that this provision is necessary so that the accused may have an opportunity of having the specimen analysed independently. I would point out that reference to the word "container" is necessary, as subsection 5 of Clause (2) has been redrafted since the original Bill was introduced and reference to the container has, I think, been omitted. I would again emphasise how important it is that a specimen of blood or urine should be supplied to the accused. Personal experience of one of your Lordships in this matter has been brought to my notice, in which a specimen became wrongly named and could well have caused serious difficulties in an Army medical inspection. The obligation to provide the accused with a specimen would prevent such an occurrence and I think give security to the accused. I beg to move.
§ Amendment moved—
Page 2, line 17, leave out subsection (4) and insert—
(4) where a specimen of blood or urine is taken from or provided by an accused person, evidence of the proportion of alcohol or any drug found in the specimen shall not be admissible on behalf of the prosecution unless
As my name is coupled with that of my noble friend, I should like to support this Amendment and what he has said in moving it. I think it is a good Amendment because it is extremely unfair and not in accord with normal British justice not to give an accused person the chance—and he may be upset by an accident when this charge is brought against him—to have full knowledge of what he may be in for. I do not understand why Her Majesty's Government have removed the provision with regard to the container from the Bill as it was. I am sure your Lordships would agree that if we could tie these things down to straightforward words we should save a lot of litigation.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Noble Lords have mentioned the removal of the provision with regard to the container and so I hope your Lordships will bear with me if, in a few moments, as briefly as I possibly can I explain how that came about. In the Committee on April 27 the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, moved an Amendment to provide that speciments of blood and urine should be offered to accused persons in prescribed containers. The Amendment was withdrawn after my noble friend Lord Dundee, while expressing some doubt about the need to prescribe the container, had undertaken to introduce a similar Amendment on Report. A Government Amendment was inserted in the Bill on Report, and that your Lordships will see in the copy of the Bill which was sent to another place. It contained this provision:(b) the other specimen or part was supplied to the accused and, if he so required, was so supplied in a container of a type prescribed for the purposes of this section by regulations made by the Secretary of State.That provision was introduced after the main provision making it obligatory for the Secretary of State to prescribe methods of collecting and analysing samples had been carried into the Bill against the Government's opposition.
The Government did not oppose the provision for prescribing the container at that time, since it was purely consequential on the main provision with regard to prescription, although my noble friend indicated the Government were still considering the general question of prescription. We shall be discussing in a short time the Government's 1058 decision to introduce the present Bill without provision in Clause 2 for prescription of methods of collection and chemical testing of specimens; and accordingly the existing subsection (4) follows the Government's plan of the Bill and omits the provision in the old subsection (4) (b) with regard to prescribed containers. That is the history of how the omission arose. I think your Lordships will appreciate its logicality.
The existing subsection, while accepting the principle behind the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, which was designed to ensure that specimens should be available to an accused person, also differs from it in providing that the accused person shall be supplied with a specimen of blood or urine only if he asks for it. Lord Teynham's Amendment restores the provision that the accused should be offered a specimen. It further provides two things: first, that there should be a new statutory requirement in all cases where a specimen of blood or urine is taken, either (a) to take two samples or (b) to divide the sample into two parts, whether or not the accused asks for a specimen, in order to have an independent analysis carried out; secondly, that where a specimen is divided it must be divided into two equal parts; third, that the sample must be offered in a suitable container. Our view is that it is reasonable to provide that the accused person should ask for a sample if he wants one. If the police were required to offer specimens of blood and urine to accused persons, they would have to ensure that they could prove that an offer had been made in every case where the accused did not accept the offer, in case the accused later said that the offer had not been made. If the provision is that the accused person should ask for a sample, the police are relieved of taking these measures, while the rights of the accused person are still safeguarded. If he alleged that he had been refused a specimen (an allegation which in my experience is likely to be made very seldom), it would be open to him to give evidence in support of the allegation.
Your Lordships will see that there is complete agreement on one point; that is, that the existing subsection was drafted so as to take account of the differences in procedure in the taking of 1059 urine samples and blood samples. I hope the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, and the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, agree that, in the ordinary course, a single specimen of urine would be divided and one part supplied to the accused. But where the accused gives a blood sample the procedure might not be the same. Methods of analysing blood samples which are now being experimented upon would involve the taking of blood in minute quantities in capillary tubes, usually from the lobe of the ear. The sample in the capillary tube could not be divided, and if the accused asked for a sample it would be necessary to take a second sample by capillary tube. That is agreed.
Subject to what I shall say later, the new statutory requirement in the first part of the Amendment would not create any difficulty for the police in taking a sample of urine or for the doctor who took a sample of blood. But it seems unnecessary to introduce a statutory requirement that this procedure should be followed in all cases irrespective of whether the accused wants a specimen or not. As regards the second part of the Amendment, it is the invariable practice of the police to divide urine samples in approximately equal parts, and the quantity of urine in the sample provided to the accused is invariably sufficient for the purpose of enabling him to have an independent analysis carried out. It would, however, be utterly impracticable for the police to divide urine samples into exactly equal parts. As to the third part, the containers used by the police in the collection of urine are provided by the Home Office Forensic Science Laboratories. I think the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, got this information, but it is important on the general problem we are discussing. The taking of blood samples is rare, but there is no evidence that where a blood sample has been taken difficulty has arisen because an unsuitable container was used. Moreover, blood samples are invariably collected by medical practitioners—they have to be, under the Act as it now stands—who must be expected to know what type of container should be used. There are, therefore, ample safeguards in practice against the use of unsuitable containers.
1060 What I suggest with regard to this Amendment is this. I shall be glad if my noble friend would not press the Amendment to-day; but when he has heard or read the discussion that we have and the decision to which the House comes on the next Amendment, and when he has had the opportunity of considering the arguments (somewhat lengthy, I fear) which I have just advanced, he can consider whether he should return to the charge on the next stage of the Bill. I think it would be helpful for our general approach to the matter if we had the important discussion which we are going to have on the next Amendment, and then my noble friend Lord Teynham can make up his mind, and if he wishes to put it down on Report he will be free to do so. I think that is the most helpful way of dealing with it now.
§ 4.10 p.m.
§ LORD TAYLOR
Before the noble Lord decides on this Amendment, I would raise one point following on what the Lord Chancellor has said about the doctors who take the specimens. In the old days there used to be police surgeons. Now they do not exist as a regular thing, and it is often difficult to get a doctor at night to come to these cases. The police telephone a number of general practitioners until finally they get somebody who will come. He may not be fully experienced in the situation, as to the taking of specimens and the question of a container, and I should not think that the mere fact of its being taken by a doctor was quite enough to guarantee that it was done as it should be done. I hope the noble and learned Viscount will bear that in mind when he is thinking of the future of this particular Amendment, rather than of the next one.
§ LORD DERWENT
May I make one point before my noble friend decides what he is going to do? This concerns two points mentioned by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor. I know that lawyers find it difficult to believe, but I suppose not one man or woman in ten in this country knows what his or her rights are. Is it really thought that in nine cases out of ten, in a police station and after an accident, a person involved is likely to know that he can ask for this? It seems to me to 1061 be absurd that he should not be offered it. The other point I wish to mention concerns the container. The noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor asked: why bring in something that makes the provision of containers more necessary than they are already? Virtually the argument was that if a man himself asks for a specimen, then, of course, provide a container; but why put the idea in his head? It is the same point: if a man does not know that he has to ask for a specimen, of course, as the Bill stands at present, he will not get anything in a container. If he asks for it, he will get it. If, on Lord Teynham's Amendment, he is offered it and refuses it, it will still not be necessary to provide the container. It is as simple as that. It seems to me that a "suitable container" is an appropriate phrase. As regards the other point, nobody knows his rights, and he knows them even less when he gets into a police station.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
May I answer my noble friend by saying that I do not think I have made myself clear on the second point. I said with regard to urine, that the containers will be provided by the Home Office science laboratories; so there is no question of a doubtful container being used with regard to the urine test. With regard to the blood test, I will of course, consider what the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, has said; but I was assuming—and I should like to look into it as the noble Lord has raised a point—that there would be a doctor there who has a capillary tube for taking blood from the lobe of the ear, and that the doctor would be providing a container in that way. I will look into that point. I am sorry if I gave the impression that, in practice, there will be any question of the use of unsuitable containers. I certainly did not mean to give that impression.
On the other point, in the vast majority of cases the man sends for his own doctor as soon as there is an examination by the police doctor. But I will willingly look into that, and will ask my right honourable friend to look into it again. I bear in mind everything that is said, but I think that my proposal is, as it is intended to be, a helpful one—namely, that it will be useful to discuss the major problem, and that my noble friend Lord Teynham will not be in the 1062 least prejudiced if he desires to put this particular Amendment before us on Report.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF INCHRYE
May I put to the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor one matter, on the same point as that raised by the noble Lord behind him? There is a provision in the Bill that stipulates that a man must ask to be supplied, for the reason the noble Lord gave. There is another reason. It is possible that after an accident a man comes into a police station much dazed, but not drunk. Let us assume that he subsequently will be found not to have been a drunk man. Nevertheless, at the time of the occurrence he is suffering from concussion, from shock, and is not really in a position in which one would expect him to ask. If he does not ask, he may subsequently be prejudiced in proceedings. Therefore, I hope that the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor will take into consideration that point also when he is reconsidering the matter.
§ VISCOUNT ASTOR
Surely the point is not that the accused should be handed a suitable container containing either his blood or his urine and asked, "Do you want these?", but that he should be told that he has the right to ask for this. It would be perfectly simple to put in a clause providing that any person who has either his blood or his urine taken should be given a form to sign in which he says, "I realise I have the right to ask for a specimen, but I do not want to use that right", and he should sign it. Then it is quite clear that he has both the right and has not wanted to use it. Perhaps the Lord Chancellor would consider an Amendment on those lines.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I will consider that as well. Two very different points of view are being put before me, and of course I will consider them both.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
Does the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, realise that if he insists on his point, the person's handwriting may even convict him?
§ VISCOUNT ASTOR
There are a great many doctors whose handwriting on their prescriptions would convict them on almost any occasion.
Before I agree, with the consent of my noble friend, to withdraw this Amendment, in view of what my noble and learned friend has said I should like to ask him one question—namely, what happens if, after a sample has been taken and it has been halved and subsequently analysed, the analyses prove different? As I understand it, there is no procedure for dealing with that. If my noble and learned friend could give me some short answer on that point, I should be most grateful.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
That is a matter for the court. Any of us who have been in practice have fought innumerable food and drug cases where there have been disputes between the analysts. Fortunately, they are not of too regular occurrence. I should have thought that the odds were very long indeed that the analyses would not be the same, but if they were not the matter would have to be tested and it would be for the court to decide. The court would hear how the analyses were done, the analysts would have to be present and there would be a full examination of the matter, first by questions and then by cross-examination. These things do occur; but, as I say, they are not very regular. When they occur it is one of the difficult questions of fact that courts are there to decide.
In view of the observations of my noble and learned friend, I beg leave to withdraw this Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 4.20 p.m.
LORD TAYLOR moved after subsection 4 (b) to insert:
() The Secretary of State shall make regulations prescribing—
§ The noble Lord said: The Amendment which I am now proposing is not in any way a hostile or wrecking Amendment. In the previous debate, when the Bill was before your Lordships last April, I made it absolutely clear that I supported Clause 2 and that I was speaking then for the great body of the medical profession, including, incidentally, 1064 the Alcohol and Road Accidents Committee of the British Medical Association. I said that we, who had studied the matter as carefully as we could, were satisfied that the Government had struck just about the right balance in safeguarding the interests of both the individual and the community. We did not want, and we do not want, the more rigorous and automatic disqualification of drivers on the basis of scientific tests as in the Scandinavian countries, but we do believe that the police, the courts, the community as a whole, and the individual should have such help as science can give in deciding the very difficult question fairly and honestly.
Indeed, my views about the matter were well summarised by the Lord President in his concluding speech on the Second Reading of this Bill on November 14 last. He said [col. 643]:
What we have done is to pursue a rational, objective and scientific policy in relation to these tests".
That is my view entirely. But the Lord President went on to say that the tests:
have proven value if properly applied ".
He then said that they:
provide some objective test of the minimum quantity"—
which the subject may have consumed.
I am sure that the Lord President used his words advisedly when he said:" "properly applied". I am sure he meant what he said. That is precisely my view and it is precisely what the present Amendment seeks to guarantee. The importance of proper application of these tests cannot possibly be over-emphasised.
§ Your Lordships will remember the remarkable personal experience of the noble Earl, Lord Arran, and how the tests to which he subjected himself seemed to be misleading—if I may say so without disrespect to the chemist concerned—precisely because the method used was not properly standardised. You will recall that this was discussed by the Lord President, on the basis of the advice of the Medical Research Council and myself, and we agreed about it and there was no doubt that something had gone wrong in the process of testing.
§ There are over 200 different analytical methods for the estimation of alcohol, 1065 each of which has a slightly different standard error. Of course, all scientific tests have a small margin of error, but each of these has a slightly different standard error. Imagine the chaos which may result if different analysts use different methods, each with a different margin of error. Remember, too, that there are well over a hundred independent police forces in the country, and that breath tests, when they come, will be applied not by trained chemists but by police officers operating quite elaborate scientific machinery. It would be a terrible thing if the public knew—and the public are by no means stupid about such things—that if you were caught in Northamptonshire, for example, you got off on a light test, whereas it was extremely dangerous to get drunk in Somerset. That would be a terrible and farcical thing.
§ My Amendment gets over this difficulty in the simplest possible way. It lays a clear duty on the Secretary of State to make regulations prescribing two things: first, the methods of collection of specimens of breath, blood and urine, and the apparatus and the methods of analysis to be used; and, secondly, the training necessary for persons using and maintaining the apparatus used for the analysis of the breath. I have said "using and maintaining" and it is very important to have both, because the breath apparatuses which exist so far, and which I have no doubt will exist in the future, must be properly looked after if they are to be accurate. This, I think, is the absolute minimum safeguard which any reasonable person can ask for if Parliament is to accept Clause 2.
I am at a complete loss to know why the Government has rejected the Amendment, which your Lordships accepted against the advice of Her Majesty's Government in April last. I have sought for possible reasons for the Government's attitude, for, if I were being unreasonable, of course I should not dream of pressing my Amendment. All that the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, was able to say against the Amendment on a previous occasion was that it was not a good thing to have the Home Secretary prescribing too many regulations. That is no argument at all. Of course, we all agreed with it. I won-
dered whether the Government wished to keep the Home Secretary out of the Bill and make it entirely a Ministry of Transport affair, but this is clearly not so, since they, themselves, quite readily introduce him in the last two lines of Clause 2. Another possible explanation is that advanced by the Daily Telegraph newspaper last Saturday. This is what "Peterborough" said:
I gather that though Mr. Marples favoured Lord Taylor's idea, Mr. Butler and other Ministers were nervous about possible infringements of the liberty of the subject.
This seems to me to be a possible but a most unlikely explanation, for my Amendment is not a further infringement of the liberty of the subject; it is rather a safeguard both for the subject and the law. The infringement, if there is an infringement, is contained in subsections (1) to (3) of Clause 2.
§ In all your Lordship's debates one tries not to be an unreasonable person, and, if proper reasons were advanced, I hope I have always been ready to give way. But surely our job is to apply reason to legislative proposals and to see that the Government do the same; otherwise, we are making a mockery of democracy. If the Government have sound reasons for reversing your Lordships' previous decision, of course I shall not press my Amendment, but up to now we have been given no reason at all. We await with great interest, therefore, the Government's explanation for their decision. If it stands up to the ordinary test of reason and common sense, well and good; but if it does not, I hope that, as on a previous occasion, your Lordships will support this Amendment if necessary in the Division Lobby. I beg to move.
Page 2, line 26, at end insert the said subsection.—(Lord Taylor.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I will do my utmost, and I very much hope that I shall be able, to satisfy the noble Lord, Lord Taylor. At any rate, I hope to put clearly before him the reasons which have satisfied me, and I know that he will consider them carefully. I should like to say at once that the Government have given the most careful consideration to the question of prescription, and that we have reached the conclusion that there 1067 is a very strong case indeed against proceeding by way of regulation in this matter. But I want to say at once to the noble Lord that in reviewing the need for these provisions the Government have fully taken into account the object which the Amendment is intended to serve. The Government entirely accept that defendants ought not to be exposed to tests and analyses carried out in a haphazard and unscientific manner.
The first question is: can adequate safeguards against this be provided, without the necessity of prescribing procedures in intricate detail? In our view such safeguards do exist. I hope the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, will accept it from me that I raise this in no niggling spirit or with any desire to make a debating point, but it appears from a subsequent Amendment providing for the prescription of tests which the noble Lord moved in the same day's debate [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 230 (No. 71), cols. 1035–39] the noble Lord may have been under the mistaken impression that each police force would use its own public analyst for urine and blood analyses instead of the forensic science laboratories. I think that is quite clear from what the noble Lord said in column 1039. In fact, as regards urine, the collection is simple; and, as I said on the last Amendment, the containers used are containers provided by one of the nine forensic science laboratories to the police. I hope everyone knows the difference. A forensic science laboratory is a highly-organised and very skilful place where the analyses are done with the greatest care and also with the greatest particularity in relation to the various problems.
§ LORD TAYLOR
May I interrupt the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor for one moment? I certainly have always hoped that these tests would be done in forensic science laboratories, but, unfortunately, this clause says that they may be done by a public analyst. That is the trouble with it. That is precisely what I would have wished to see: that it specified that they were done by forensic science laboratories.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Yes. But the point that I am putting to the noble Lord is that he was under a misapprehension, as he stated, as to what 1068 actually happened. He thought they were going to be done by public analysts chosen by the various police forces. In fact, the procedure is that they are done by the forensic science laboratories. I am dealing with the point as to whether there is a safeguard, and that is the procedure that is followed at the moment.
§ LORD TAYLOR
I am so sorry to interrupt the Lord Chancellor again, but I have not got it over to him. I was aware of both the points he mentions. But the Bill, unfortunately, does not say that they should be done by forensic science laboratories. It says they may be done by public analysts.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I do not know why the noble Lord says he was aware of the points, because he said on the last occasion [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 230 (No. 71), col. 1039]:Indeed, I had based my Amendment on a misunderstanding. I imagined that our police forces were going to behave as the Glasgow City Police have behaved in the past, each using their own public analyst.What I am telling him is that, as a matter of practice—which is relevant, surely, as to whether there is a safeguard or not—he was wrong. These tests are done by the forensic science laboratories. That is one question: what actually happens. The next question is what we ought to put in the Bill; but I wanted to correct him (with the greatest possible politeness, I am sure) on the first point, and to tell him that when he moved the Amendment he was labouring under the mistaken idea that they were done by local public analysts when in fact they are done by the forensic science laboratories. That is what actually happens on the point.
The analysis of the specimens is performed by the qualified scientists at the Home Office forensic science laboratories according to a well-understood procedure. With regard to blood tests, as I said, they are infrequently undertaken. But the collection of specimens is carried out by qualified doctors—indeed, the Bill as amended by this House provides that it can be done only by a doctor—and, again, the analysis of blood specimens is done by the official laboratories. With regard to breath tests, as I think the noble Lord said, new methods are being looked for, and, again, in practice, they would not 1069 be introduced until the Home Office and the Medical Research Council were satisfied that a suitable instrument was available. Advice would then be given to the police, to doctors and to the scientists concerned about the new procedure, and suitable training of the police as to the taking of the tests would be carried out by administrative arrangements between the Home Office and the authorities responsible for police training. I should point out—and this is important—that no other form of police training is prescribed by regulation, so I am told, and I know of none. The idea of regulating police training by regulations made under a Statute is a new departure. But the more important point, in my view, is this. Shall I wait until the noble Earl, Lord Arran, makes his point?
THE EARL OF ARRAN
I am sorry. May I be excused for my lack of knowledge of the procedure of your Lordships' House? I am a fairly new Member.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I was perfectly prepared for the noble Earl to do it if he wanted. I was only anxious, as he will understand, to have the attention of the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, because I was coming to my important point but I did not want to interrupt my noble friend Lord Arran for a moment.
The important point, in my view, is that it is for the courts to decide the weight to be attached to the evidence of chemical tests. Even without prescription, the prosecution will still have to convince the courts of the adequacy of the tests, and that is the real safeguard for defendants. So far as it is known, the development of urine tests, now so widely used, has proceeded without complaint having been made of defendants' being prejudiced. But to prescribe the methods to be used would, of course, constitute a considerable departure from the present practice of not laying down in detail the methods to be adopted in collecting and sifting evidence. I ask noble Lords who take an interest in the general working of the police to consider this point carefully.
May I give your Lordships another example? We do not lay down in detail the methods to be adopted in collecting 1070 and sifting evidence. If the forensic science laboratories are to have their methods of urine analysis prescribed by Statute, why not also methods of testing for the presence of poison; or, to take a much more common example, the origin of a bullet? Noble Lords know the tests that are made which show the rifling of the gun which has fired it, and which often determine the gun which has fired it. Or, to take another example which comes into investigation every day: the composition of the soil, or whatever it may be, very often in the upturn of the trousers of a suspect. These are all important points. They are points which have developed, as anyone who has been Home Secretary knows, over the last few years, because there has been considerable and increasing study of the problems. If everything were to be laid down by regulation, that would be absurd. I think everyone would agree with that.
Where is the line to be drawn? All these points are points which concern the liberty of the subject. They are all cases where the liberty of the subject depends on that evidence. And I say that if you are going to prescribe and lay down by statutory regulation how the work is to be done, you are really proceeding to an impossible position. If one imagines the alarming prospect which would be opened up if all the evidence to do with physical processes produced by the police had to be subject to regulation by the central Government, it is clear that that would be an intolerable position and would be entirely unfair. I put it to the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, that it would be getting an absolutely false balance in the position of the police and the criminal, to which we must always have regard, in dealing with criminal matters.
To develop that a little further the other way, if the police introduce a new device, they must satisfy the court that the device is satisfactorily worked and that the information obtained is reliable. They have to satisfy the court according to the strict standards applicable to evidence, and the court will admit it only if it complies with these standards. That is one thing, of course, for which I have stood during my whole life. But to go with the noble Lord would, indeed, be a step backwards; that is, if the police were not to introduce a new method until 1071 they had the support of regulations made by the central Government.
Let me put it to the noble Lord in this way. The noble Lord appreciates this, because the benignity of his nature is one of the joys of this House, if he will allow me to say so in the kindest possible way. He is, of course, imagining this procedure: that the regulations will be as near perfection as the fallible mind of man can envisage. That is not, and cannot be, of course, the whole story. Once you make regulations, you attach the imprimatur of the Home Office, the Home Secretary, the Government, and this House to the contents of those regulations. Then you come to the magistrate; and the magistrate says, "But this is the procedure which is laid down by the Home Secretary. He was given the powers in Parliament at the request of the Opposition." Therefore, these regulations are taken as really the only proper method. The noble Lord said that there were two hundred methods of analysis. I will come on to the position of the defence in a moment, because that is a different point.
If in regard to the regulations you are going to take the responsibility of saying, "Well, if you follow these regulations, it is all right," and you accept that, then I think that is extremely dangerous, because no one knows better than the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, that you may have an improvement along this line of research. I hope noble Lords will not think I am saying this simply for the sake of argument. If we take the question of tests alone, as the noble Baroness knows there have been great arguments in medical papers as to when is the right time to take a test. And we are not at the end of the story. Further medical research may indicate (I am not putting views based on any particular research) that it is better to take the urine test half-an-hour after, or it may be an hour after. It may show it is better to empty the bladder, and to take another test after the bladder has been emptied. That is the sort of thing about which there may well be changes and improvements in medical view. But you start off by allowing somebody to put the other view, that the court should look at the matter without prejudice or presumption as to whether that new view be right, 1072 basing their decision on their evaluation of the evidence of the doctor or the chemist who puts it forward. That is why I say—and I hope your Lordships will not think it is simply because I am a lawyer that I am saying this—that you ought to trust the court to apply strict standards, allow methods that satisfy the court in accordance with those strict standards, and not cut them out by regulations made by the Home Office or anybody else.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Viscount, but he has made the point, and is employing it now, that a regulation is a mere departmental product. But is it not the case that a regulation can only be made as authorised by Statute; that when it is made, it becomes law as much as the Statute itself? And finally, does not the regulation have to be submitted to Parliament, which can interfere by Prayer? If it does not interfere, then Parliament becomes responsible. Therefore, is the noble and learned Viscount so right in making this very great distinction in status and respect for the Statute law, on the one hand, and the regulation that is made in the Statute law, and really becomes Statute law when it is made, on the other?
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I was only trying not to overstate my case, but what the noble Lord has said enormously strengthens my case.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
On that point, I think one ought to add, in fairness, because it may be held to be a point against my own argument, that you can alter regulations much more easily than you can alter Statutes. But conceding that point—that if you do it by regulation you will come to one period of time where you will have the regulation taken as being the right, proper, and, in the opinion of many people, the only way of doing the thing, whereas research may have shown by then that there are other methods, even if that research is wrong—why should anybody be refused the right to go to the court and put the results of that research? The Amendment of the noble 1073 Lord, Lord Taylor, applies to the defence as well as to the prosecution. The suggestion of this Amendment is that a defendant, who may live in a small town, takes a specimen to the analyst there, There may be a very brilliant analyst and a very brilliant doctor in that small town; that has often happened before in the history of medicine. He may say, "No; I say the right way is to apply these tests. I say that these tests imply the presence of so much alcohol; that is my view by conducting these tests", and the results are put before the court. You have the check of the court. The court will see, to use the phrase of the noble Lord, Lord Killearn, if that is a nonsense; or, if he has based it on the wrong ground he will be cross-examined by the prosecution. But for the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, to refuse the defence that right would, I think, be going very far indeed.
§ LORD AIREDALE
Might I interrupt the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor for a moment? With respect, I think he is making a false point here, because the clause to which the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, is attached deals with specimens being admissible on behalf of the prosecution; and presumably there would be nothing under Lord Taylor's Amendment to prevent the defence from introducing the results of tests made in any way whatever.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
The noble Lord, Lord Airedale, may be right—after all, there is some reason to suppose that it may have to be decided one day—but I think he would agree with me that if it did not apply to the defence, it would be a terrible thing.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Let me apply it another way. The clause deals with drink and drugs. The noble Lord, Lord Taylor, himself has advocated that there would have to be a separate test for every drug, and under this Amendment there would have to be a test for every drug in the regulations. All that I have said about the difficulty of sticking to one test and of the advances of research applies not only a fortiori but is multiplied in this regard. I wonder what the noble Lord 1074 would say, as a doctor, if he were suddenly told that, at the instance of a Member of the House of Lords and against the view of the Home Office themselves, the Home Office have now to prescribe the tests for every drug that may affect driving. The noble Lord, in the other part of his personality, might say, "I do not like their tests. I want to apply my own tests." Yet, according to this Amendment, he would have to apply the tests for every drug that is likely to affect driving. I certainly understood this to apply to the defence but I will consider it again after what the noble Lord, Lord Airedale, has said. I am always ready to reconsider my views.
I wonder whether the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, wants to go so far as this—that, unless the police have collected the material and applied a test according to one of the methods laid down by the Home Office, they will not be able to give the evidence. That is what I understand he wants done. We really have to consider the position of the police. I know that broadly it is unpopular to say that the police have any rights at all, but, of course, they have, and the idea of putting the police in the position of having any deviation from these regulations raised and discussed as a defence and taken to a Divisional Court—because, as the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, pointed out, this is a statutory, mandatory requirement—is not a good thing. I hope that I have not infringed on your Lordships' time too long, but I think this is an important matter.
What I have given as to the position of the courts, as to research and as to the position of the police, even if the noble Lord, Lord Airedale, is right and I am wrong on the question of defence, are surely points which lead up to my main point: that it should be for the court to assess the value and say whether they are satisfied on the evidence that the tests that had been applied put a case before the court on which they could act either towards conviction or towards acquittal. This is not a question of stalling in order not to accept the noble Lord's point; I hope he will believe that. This is a question for serious consideration. When your 1075 Lordships have had a chance of considering all these various aspects, I am sure that you will agree that we ought not to put this iron plan on the operations of the courts of justice.
§ VISCOUNT ASTOR
May I say that the noble and learned Viscount's suggested method is going to put too severe a test both on the courts and on the defendants? It has been said that there are two hundred different methods, and every chief constable may want to use a different one. We all know that judges are very learned, but they have not been trained in chemistry, and how can a judge, however well qualified he is as a lawyer, out of his own knowledge judge the efficacy of such tests? He can do so only if the defendant is rich enough to be able to hire suitable doctors and produce conflicting views. But many defendants are poor people. Or he can do so if the courts have the right to ask for independent evidence from, say, the Medical Research Council on how good a particular test is.
As the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor said, it is not desirable to lay down too rigidly what should be done; but surely the difficulty can he got round by saying that either the courts should have the right to ask the M.R.C. for an opinion about a test, or that the Home Secretary, after consulting the M.R.C., should be able to lay down one, two or more tests which they think suitable, or a chief constable should get his method "vetted" by the M.R.C. before he produces it in court. If something like that were done, it might lessen the divergencies between different methods in different parts of the country.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF INCHRYE
In listening to the debate, I started off very much in sympathy with my noble friend Lord Taylor but I could not help being impressed by what the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor said, particularly by the reassurance he gave that in administrative practice all these analyses are carried out in forensic laboratories. But I think that there is a difference between administrative practice and laying down by Statute something which protects the accused. If we cannot accept the noble Lord's Amendment and if it is equally impossible to 1076 list in the Bill the forensic laboratories, would it be possible to devise wording for the Bill at a later stage which would make clear that what is done administratively by the analyses which are being carried out in forensic laboratories would be carried out in future by Statute? If that were the case, it seems to me that the safeguards which my noble friend Lord Taylor asked for would be satisfied. The noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor said it was an impossible position to lay down by statutory regulation how the work is to be done. Accepting that. could you not lay down by statutory regulation who is to do the work and where it is to be done? In that case I suggest that the main purpose of the Amendment would be covered.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT BRENTFORD
I must confess that it seems to me almost a situation of humour where noble Lords on this side of the House are pressing the Government to prescribe regulations and their efforts are being resisted by Minister after Minister. It is the most unusual circumstance for any Minister to resist any temptation to take powers to make a regulation. I supported the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, upon this Amendment on the last occasion and, like him, I was disappointed then that we really received no argument from the Government as to the reasons why they advised your Lordships to reject the Amendment. Upon this occasion I should like to say for myself, at any rate, that it was a matter of sheer, unmitigated joy to hear my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor really extending his terrific powers as an advocate to convince us that, in reason as well as in argument, we were wrong in pressing this Amendment.
It seems to me that the situation really is divided into two parts. The first, as the Amendment states, is for the prescription of the way in which specimens shall be collected. Your Lordships will recall that in a previous debate just now it was pointed out that under the Bill these specimens could be collected at any place at any time by any constable. We were seeking to ensure that by Statute it should be done only at a police station or a similar type of place, and it is true that my noble friend who replied for the Government said that in practice it was 1077 almost certain to be done at a police station. But, in fact, so far as the Bill now stands, these specimens may be collected anywhere at any time by any constable. That is the basic peril: that if in a small wayside police station the particular apparatus which the Home Office supplies happens to have been in disuse for some six months or so, which is quite likely, it probably will not be in a fit and proper state to be used for a purpose of this seriousness. Therefore, how is a court to know what the condition is, and what it should be, if there is no prescribed way of maintenance of the apparatus which is to be used?
My noble and learned friend in his speech made clear the difficulties which would arise in Scotland Yard and places like that if prescription became necessary and was to be enforced in regard to all the investigations which the police made. But I venture to think that this was somewhat overstressed, both as regards the wide variety of instances which spring to the mind, to which he was referring, and also as to the courts before which such evidence would be offered. The majority of the cases with which we are dealing will come before magistrates' courts, which vary so greatly from point to point. In addition, they will be brought by the police.
It appears to me that the assumption of the Government is that the police will be acting directly under the direction of the Home Office. But surely that would not be so. They will be acting under the individual instructions of their own watch committees or chief constables, and it is likely that the instructions given to the individual police at the local police stations will vary from area to area quite considerably unless they have any central directive in the form of prescribed regulations from the Home Office. That is the first point I want to make: that so far as the collection of specimens is concerned, I think it:is for the protection of the police that they should be given some guidance as to the limits within which the apparatus which they are to use should be kept, maintained and used, and that so long as they do keep, maintain and use those apparati—
§ VISCOUNT BRENTFORD
The apparatuses—so long as they are used within those prescribed limits, the police themselves are protected.
The second point turns to the training necessary for the persons maintaining and using the apparatus used for tie analysis of the breath. I understood that this aspect of the matter, in particular, would be dealt with in practice solely by the forensic science laboratory. If that is so, I am quite certain that not one of your Lordships, and certainly not myself, would have the slightest objection. But the answer to that which I must offer to my noble and learned friend is that it is not what the Bill says. The Bill makes it perfectly clear that these matters can be dealt with, and a certificate can be signed by, an authorised analyst. And an authorised analyst is specifically defined asany person possessing the qualifications prescribed by regulations made under section eighty-nine of the Food and Drugs Act, 1955,and something else,and any other person authorised by the Secretary of State to make analyses …So it is a very wide section of this particular profession which is entitled by the Bill, as at present drawn, to deal with these matters. If the Government would substitute therefor something to the effect that it should be under the control of the forensic science laboratory, then I think we should all be satisfied—I am not sure about the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, but I know that he has a high regard for this particular institution. But as the matter stands in the Bill at present, for my part, I cannot feel at all satisfied with it.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I should like to make one point. The nine forensic science laboratories are in England and Wales. In Scotland, as was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, the practice has been for the city analyst of Glasgow to do all the analyses. I want to say that because I do not want my noble friend Lord Brentford to be under any misapprehension. With regard to Scotland, what my right honourable friend the Secretary of State told me when I consulted him on this point 1079 was that he would ensure that the procedure was carried on by analysts of experience and repute; in other words, he would take that responsibility. I want that to be quite clear, because I do not think I mentioned (I cannot remember whether I did or not) that the forensic science laboratories are in England and Wales, and I ought to be quite frank about it.
§ 5.10 p.m.
§ LORD AIREDALE
It appears to be agreed on the two sides of this discussion that there are two hundred methods of detecting the presence of alcohol. I am wondering whether, in a hotly-contested case before the court, it would not follow, as night follows day, that, whichever of the 200 methods had been adopted by the witness from the forensic science laboratory, counsel on the other side would ask him why it was that he had not used one or other of the 199. There would follow from that a prolonged and highly technical discussion or, indeed, argument, between the witness in the box and learned counsel. Whether the court would derive much enlightenment from that argument is, in my submission, doubtful.
Whatever the court thought about it, I feel perfectly certain that they would say to themselves: "We wish that the Home Secretary had prescribed what the test was to be, so that all this discussion about the appropriate test would not have to take place before us and so that we should not be left to try to decide for ourselves, as laymen, what the appropriate tests in given circumstances were". The noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor pointed out that it was unnecessary for the forensic science laboratory to be guided by the Home Secretary as to how they were to detect, for instance, particles of materials in a suspected person's trousers. I do not think there is any public disquiet at all about the methods to be used for that sort of purpose, but I do believe that there is great public disquiet at this moment about the efficacy of particular tests for detecting the presence of alcohol in the body. It may well be that, when this field has been explored further, there may come a time when there can be a relaxation and analysts can be given a much freer hand, but I feel that in the first instance the analysts themselves would welcome, as the courts would 1080 most certainly welcome, a regulation from the Home Secretary laying down, as the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, suggests, the precise tests which are to be applied.
§ LORD ELTON
I hope that when the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, or whoever it may be who replies or carries on the discussion, answers this point, he will make it clear what is the source of this repeated reference to two hundred possible tests. I am not clear myself whether there is some source in the Medical Research Council's Report—
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
May I interrupt my noble friend to say that the source is Lord Taylor. He said so, and I accepted what he said with a politeness probably equalled only by my simplicity.
§ LORD TAYLOR
I think I said one hundred tests. The source was the British Medical Association's Committee on Alcohol and Road Safety. I think it is a perfectly accurate figure and that there is no doubt about it. At any rate, it is an enormous figure.
§ LORD ELTON
The impression I derived, from such reports as I have read, was that there had been one hundred or may be one thousand alternatives, but we had reached a point where two or three were regarded as in the running, so to speak.
The only other thing I wish to say is that for quite a different reason—possibly the most illogical reason of any that have so far been mentioned—I am rather hoping that Lord Taylor is going to press his Amendment and that I shall have a chance of voting for it, because I think there is a great deal to be said for having certain obligations resting on a central authority in this matter. I am, I suppose, one of that minority of your Lordships' House who would like to see a much wider use made of these tests than is likely to result from the Bill in its present form. I feel that if the noble Lord's Amendment were accepted there would be, to put it at its lowest, a constant reminder to the Home Secretary, or the Minister who was responsible, that there rested upon him an obligation to satisfy himself as speedily as may be that some test was sufficiently objective and conclusive (as Governments in many 1081 other countries have already satisfied themselves, and thereby notably reduced their own accidents) and also that a subsequent obligation rested on him to provide the equipment necessary to make the test far more widely applicable than seems likely at present.
I have been, as I dare say some of your Lordships have, depressed by the pessimism of the Government on this matter with regard to the instrument variously named the breathometer, the breathaliser, or the drunkometer. There may be other horrible names too, but we all know what we are referring to. In this Amendment of the noble Lord, I am glad to see a suggestion that the Minister should be responsible for laying down the training for persons using this instrument. Whenever it has been referred to this evening, it has always been spoken of as some vague possibility on the horizon which might one day be introduced but which nobody really knew very much about. The fact is that it is used in 36 States of the United States already, let alone the latest country to adopt it, according to information which reached me this morning, Czechoslovakia, where they have reduced their road accidents due to drunkenness, they claim, from 13 per cent. to 9 per cent. since January 1 last, largely owing to a test which, so far as I can follow the article, is enforced by what we should call a breathaliser.
We have been told that it would be unthinkable to equip our stations with this instrument; that we know very little about it, and that it would be a difficult thing to work. Professor Drew, who, I suppose, if anybody, can speak for the Medical Research Council, has stated in public that it takes only a week to train a man to use it, and that all you have to do—
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I must say, quite frankly, that the advice we have received from the Medical Research Council on this instrument is that it is not safe to use as an accurate test.
§ LORD ELTON
I was just going to say that the noble Viscount the Leader of the House said—and I naturally accept it from him—that the Medical Research Council have said that this instrument is insufficiently accurate. I am left with a puzzle, in that I presided over a lecture given by Professor Drew, 1082 and unless my ears deceived me he used the words that it was a simple and accurate instrument. If the Government are advised that it is not accurate then we must leave it at that, and merely be left with the fact that other countries have accepted it and have obtained successful results from using it.
It is for some such reasons as these that I, personally, feel that the cause of those who would like to see these scientific tests pushed forward rapidly, developed scientifically, and used as widely as is compatible with efficiency and justice, would be served by leaving this responsibility with some central authority; and that is why I hope that the noble Lord is going to divide the House.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
May I ask the Leader of the House one question? Is it not the fact that individual members of the Medical Research Council do not necessarily agree with one another?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
Yes. I do not know whether I am intervening at a convenient or inconvenient time, but may I deal with the noble Lady's question? Nobody has greater respect than I have for Professor Drew, who conducted the inquiry. He is, so far as I remember, a psychologist, which perhaps affects the value of his judgment upon the accuracy of an instrument or a mechanical piece of apparatus. It is the fact, as the noble Lady says, that a distinguished gentleman employed by the Medical Research Council is entitled to speak for himself. But the view of the Medical Research Council is, so far as I know, that which I accurately conveyed to the Committee in another connection in my noble friend's speech. I do not want to detain the Committee long before it comes to a decision, especially as it has had the advantage of hearing my noble and learned friend deploy the case at length, but a number of speeches have been made since my noble friend spoke, and I think, therefore, it might not be inappropriate if I added a word or two to what he said, or applied what he has said to some of the speeches which have been made.
I should have thought that if anything were calculated to give the supporters of this Amendment pause it would have been the argument which 1083 has just been presented in favour of it by my noble friend Lord Elton, whose view on this matter is well known, and we all respect it. It is one which was in fact rejected by the Committee when the Bill first came before it. My noble friend Lord Elton's view is that a number of perfectly accurate tests are available and that the needs of justice and safety on the road can best be satisfied by making a perfectly rigid level, or fixed statutory level, of alcohol in the blood the test of whether an offence is committed or not. Our view has always been to the contrary. It is, in fact, the contrary view which is really put forward, if I am not mistaken, by the supporters of the Amendment, who in the main have been actuated—certainly my noble friends below the gangway—by a desire to preserve the rights of individuals against the possibility of mistake. This is the opposite view from that of my noble friend Lord Elton.
One of the real dangers of this Amendment, as I see it—and, as I shall try to show, there are some very real practical dangers—is that if you prescribe a test by an administrative authority as being one which may be used, and other lay persons may come to place undue reliance on it and treat it as something, if the required ritual is entered into, of the nature of concrete evidence. I do not at all accept the view that the result of this Amendment, if it were carried, would be to the advantage of the defendants. It may very well be that my noble friend Lord Elton is right, and that a prescription by the Home Secretary of the test would tend to establish belief in its infallibility.
May I now come to the point which was raised first by the noble Lord, Lord Airedale, intervening with my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor, and which is, I think, to some extent an answer to the case which was presented by the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye. I do not think that the noble Lord, Lord Airedale, has correctly read the section to which this Amendment is an addition. I do not read this Amendment as limiting these tests to the prosecution in any way. I think that if you look at the subsection you will see that its language is perfectly general, indicating the type of test to which a court shall have regard in weighing the 1084 evidence. The point at which the prosecution comes in, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Airedale, will see if he reads subsection (1) of the clause, is this: that in the second part of subsection (1) it is laid down that if, for any reason, a suspected person refuses a test, then the prosecution can give evidence of the refusal; but the earlier described subsection applies equally to tests introduced for the purpose of the defence and to tests introduced for the purpose of the prosecution, and I should have thought that that really provides the answer to the point about public analysts.
I very much doubt whether I played a part in the particular debates on earlier occasions—I think I did not—but it is very much in my mind that the subsection to which the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, referred, subsection (5)—and I believe the noble Viscount, Lord Brentford, referred to it too—is wider than the actual practice used on behalf of the prosecution and as described by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor, precisely because the subsection is applicable equally to defence as well as prosecution and it was thought reasonable to provide that the defence should not be burdened with the necessity of calling a public analyst, if he employed one, but should be entitled to a certificate of the public analyst. Of course, both prosecution and the defence can call somebody other than the person who signs the certificate if it is desired to rely on the evidence of what is found in the test.
Subsection (5), unless I am mistaken, and the subsection to which it refers, is an enabling subsection to enable a certificate to be used as evidence in order to save the calling of a witness, and the reason why the public analyst, and not a forensic science laboratory only, is there—apart from the point about Glasgow, which is a refinement I had overlooked—is largely in order to enable the defence, if they think favourable, to refer to this certificate instead of calling a witness. I believe that is the reason why that is done.
I think we have to ask ourselves what is the object of the clause and what is the result of the Amendment; what is scientifically the situation, and what is forensically practicable in trying a case. 1085 The object of the clause is to lay down what in some cases I think was always the law but was not always accepted to be the law, namely, that regard must be had to scientific tests of whether or not a person is guilty of an offence under this subsection, and to provide certain consequences if a suspected person refuses to subject himself to the test, as he is entitled to do.
Having had some experience in this field, both in prosecuting and defending, in my earlier life, I must tell the Committee that if the object is to ensure, as it is, that in appropriate cases where the offence has been committed guilt can be established, this Amendment, if it is passed, will put into the hands of a competent defender, as I hope I was, a very considerable armoury of potential weapons which might secure acquittal of a number of quite guilty people because some minor part of the ritual prescribed by the Home Secretary—and which did not affect the scientific validity of the tests at all—had not been complied with. This would have a very unfortunate result, however much we may desire to protect the interests of defendants against misuse or damage by the police; and I myself, with some good deal of experience of this particular matter, think that the Amendment, if moved, would have a potentially disastrous effect upon the object of the clause.
Of course, courts are constantly having to deal with scientific evidence of one sort or another. Civil courts constantly have to deal with it, and criminal courts constantly have to deal with it, sometimes in cases of the utmost importance. My noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor introduced the case where ballistics experts deal with the characteristics of a particular bullet, which might, of course, affect the life of an individual as the criminal law now stands. Nobody has yet thought that if that is important, as that kind of evidence is, it should be established that the Executive, namely the Government of the day, the Home Secretary, on however good advice, should lay down regulations prescribing the way in which to obtain and to give weight to evidence of that kind. It is a totally new principle in our criminal law to make any such suggestion, and it would be a totally new principle in our civil law in the ordinary course. However difficult, these questions are 1086 being dealt with by courts every day of the week when the courts are sitting.
The principle upon which the courts work is this. An expert has to establish in each case the scientific validity of the evidence he gives. If it is fingerprint evidence, he has to establish the whole basis upon which fingerprint evidence is established. If it is ballistic, a ballistic witness is called. That evidence is open to challenge by either side if it is not accepted.
Secondly, if the scientific validity of the evidence is established, then the question is whether it is logically probative of the conclusion which it is desired to draw from that evidence. With the greatest respect to the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, it would be a totally new principle to introduce a purely artificial test into the evidence acceptable to the court, and to say that if it is that which is prescribed by the Home Secretary it is logically probative and if it is not that which is prescribed by the Home Secretary, but is none the less scientifically valid, it would be excluded. In fact, in the present state of scientific knowledge of this subject, this would be disastrous, because as the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, rightly and fairly pointed out in his very reasonable support of this Amendment, there are a very great number of ways in which urine can be collected, without destroying the validity of the urine test.
There are a number of different ways, perhaps not a very great number, in which blood can be collected without destroying the scientific validity of the blood test; and there are a number of different reactions and tests that can be applied once the samples have been collected. It really is not true to say that it is necessary, in order to assure the scientific validity of tests, that there should be only a single or even a small number of ways, to be approved by regulation, for the collection of specimens of breath, blood and urine and the apparatus and methods of analysis to be used—still less to prescribe the training necessary for persons maintaining and using the apparatus used for the analysis of breath.
I would put this to the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, as, as I say, one who has had experience in defending this particular type of case, and in prosecuting. If I were defending a man I believed to 1087 be guilty of this offence, I should undoubtedly challenge the training of the person who had taken part in the police test; I should submit to the court or the jury that the training in some way was not adequate to meet the regulations. I should not have to go very far, because all I should need to do would be to establish that the prosecution had not, in some relatively minor particular, established that the training of each particular person taking part in the test had matched up to the Home Secretary's regulations. Whatever value the Home Secretary's regulations may or may not have, whether or not endorsed by Parliament by positive or negative Resolution, one thing they are certainly not good for is being used as a test, in a court of law, of what is logically probative. For that purpose the judges are a better source of judgment than anybody else. It is quite true that they are not scientifically trained, for the most part, although some are scientifically very knowledgeable. The reason that they are selected is because they are able to test the value, to judge the value, of scientific evidence, which they have to hear almost every day, and to see whether or not it should be accepted in a particular case.
Having said that, I would respectfully submit that the case for the Amendment has really gone. There is one thing of which I feel absolutely certain, which is that it is utterly unthinkable that the House should decide that one set of rules should apply to the prosecution as to what is scientifically valid and logically probative, and another set of totally different rules for the defence. If in fact the same set of rules is applicable to both, I should have thought it unthinkable to provide that this series of tests should be prescribed by Home Secretary's regulations. I think that the House should be prepared to accept from my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor that the actual methods adopted by the prosecution are such as to satisfy the tenderest conscience that no wrong methods will be adopted, and should let the defence, who have not got the apparatus or the experts which are available to the prosecution, prove their case in any way which the courts may hold to be scientifically valid and logically probative. Anything else 1088 would fetter the courts and the prosecution and interfere with the real course of justice.
§ 5.36 p.m.
§ LORD TAYLOR
I shall not match in eloquence either the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Hailsham, or the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor. I must thank them both for having treated this Amendment seriously and given us serious reasons to think about it and to consider it. Now I must try to answer those reasons, admit I am wrong where I am wrong and stick to my points where I think I am right. First of all, the noble Lord, Lord Elton, quite rightly, picked me up on the number of tests. There are over two hundred tests. I was muddled about the number of police forces. He is correct in saying that two or three tests only are generally used in the forensic science laboratories. Secondly, the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, was absolutely right in saying that I had omitted to omit drugs from this, and I think it is an absolutely fair point. This has nothing to do with drugs, and if your Lordships were to carry this Amendment I would propose on Report stage to specify that drugs should be omitted from it, because it is clearly ridiculous to direct the Home Secretary to make regulations about drug analysis.
Now we come to the analysis of blood and urine and breath. Again the noble and learned Viscount was absolutely fair in criticising me over the forensic science laboratories and he was right in saying I had suggested previously that the police forces might be using different analyses. They will not be, I am sure. He is right in saying they will be sending their specimens to the forensic science laboratories, except in Scotland; I got confused over Scotland. But it is an absolutely different question when we come to the analysis of breath, and breath is what is in this clause and in this Bill.
Your Lordships will have noted that where a specimen of blood or urine is divided into two parts one half is offered to the defence and one half is taken by the police for analysis. That cannot happen with breath, and it cannot happen with breath for the very good reason that it is virtually impossible to preserve breath. The test must be done at once. Breath is in this Bill; it is not outside it. It is not something that the noble and 1089 learned Viscount, Lord Hailsham can dismiss by saying our tests are not scientific enough yet. Why is it in this Bill? Breath is here now, and these breath tests can be performed only within an hour or so when the victim, the drunken person, is arrested or detained by the police. The tests must be done there and then by policemen. That is the situation.
This is not an elaborate legal trick that I am trying to play on your Lordships; it simply is the fact. These tests must be carried out, if at all—and breath tests are here and presumably the Government mean them to be here, and I think they should be here—by a policeman in an ordinary police station using apparatus which is scientific apparatus. The noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, is quite right in saying there are no regulations about bullets; there are no regulations about dirt in the turn-ups. But you can save a bullet; you can save dirt in the turn-ups and divide it into two pants. But you cannot save breath. Breath has to be tested there and then, and the analysis made there and then by a policeman who normally is untrained. Therefore this is an absolutely different situation. On that single test this man's reputation may be gravely damaged and he may be disqualified from using a car.
I think we must have this. It is really a minimum safeguard for the ordinary people who are going to be subjected to these tests, that the Home Secretary should prescribe regulations before we have the tests. If he cannot then we should not have the tests. I think that is the simple truth. As for stopping research, this is complete nonsense—with the greatest respect to the Lord Chancellor; of course I would never say that anything he says is complete nonsense. Research will go on perfectly satisfactorily, whether or not we pass these regulations. You do not first present research results in court; you present them in the Journal of Forensic Science. Only when you have presented them in the Journal of Forensic. Science for quite a long time do they come before the courts. That is an ordinary procedure. The Lord Chancellor made one other point which I have forgotten now.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
The noble Lord, Lord Airedale, and I disagree on the construction as regards the noble Lord's Amendment applying to the defence. I think it would apply to the defence; the noble Lord, Lord Airedale does not. I should like to know what the noble Lord wants to do. Does he want the defence to be subject to this Amendment—that is, does he want the defence to be limited to forms of collection and testing laid down in the Home Secretary's regulations, or does he not? I should be most interested to know.
§ LORD TAYLOR
I have no wish in any way to limit the defence. I think that the methods of collecting the specimen to be handed to the defence should indeed be limited by regulation. I think it is vital that that should be properly controlled so that they get a specimen as good as the forensic science laboratories can guarantee. That is essential. I am most grateful to the Lord Chancellor for interrupting me. I had forgotten that point, which was a particular point I wanted to make. If your Lordships were to accept this Amendment I should certainly on the Report stage introduce an Amendment to this Amendment making absolutely clear that it did not apply to the defence. It is only to guarantee for the ordinary protection of the ordinary public that these tests are properly carried out in a situation which can never recur and where the division of specimens is impossible.
So I am going to ask your Lordships to accept this Amendment, while thanking the Government for having treated it seriously and honestly. I realise that there are imperfections in it. I should have liked the Government to accept it in principle and that they should redraft it, which is what we often do in your Lordships' House, because I am an imperfect Parliamentary draftsman. But I should like your Lordships to carry this Amendment because it is the right thing to do if we are to have breath tests at all.
§ LORD AIREDALE
May I take this opportunity to apologise to both noble Viscounts who have spoken on behalf of the Government? I was wrong in assuming that this new subsection was intended to be governed, and in fact was governed, by the words which govern 1091 the immediately preceding subsection: thatthe specimen shall not be admissible on behalf of the prosecution".The noble Lord, Lord Taylor, has made the position quite clear on that point, and I apologise.
§ LORD CONESFORD
May I put one question to the noble Lord, Lord Taylor? I apologise for not having been here to hear his original speech. I do not quite follow his reply to my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor, when he said that he did not wish this at all to apply to, or to hamper, the defence. Would it not in fact do so? The point I wish to put to the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, whose careful speech, I know, impressed us all, is this: I agree with him that the case of breath poses the most difficult problem; but he says his Amendment would make the evidence for the prosecution admissible provided all these
§ regulations had been complied with. Does he say that the defence should be able to produce evidence from a doctor who used a machine which did not satisfy any of the regulations laid down by the Secretary of State? Would not that be an extraordinary doctrine, if the evidence of the use of an instrument by the prosecution had to satisfy one set of conditions and the evidence produced for the defence on the same point did not have to do so at all? I hope I have made my point clear to the noble Lord, Lord Taylor. It seems to me that his Amendment, even as applied to breath alone, would have that defect.
§ LORD TAYLOR
Of course it would. It was my intention that it should have that effect, and I see nothing wrong in it at all.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 41; Not-Contents, 66.1091
|Addison, V.||Henderson, L.||Shepherd, L.|
|Airedale, L.||Kenswood, L.||Silkin, L.|
|Alexander of Hillsborough, V.||Kilbracken, L.||Somers, L.|
|Astor, V.||Latham, L.||Stonham, L.|
|Attlee, E.||Lawson, L.||Strang, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Lucan, E.[Teller.]||Summerskill, B.|
|Bethell, L.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Taylor, L.|
|Brentford, V.||Milverton, L.||Terrington, L.|
|Burden, L.[Teller.]||Morrison, L.||Waleran, L.|
|Citrine, L.||Morrison of Lambeth, L.||Walston, L.|
|Elton, L.||Northesk, E.||Williams, L.|
|Forster of Harraby, L.||Rea, L.||Wise, L.|
|Glentanar, L.||Robertson of Oakridge, L.||Wootton of Abinger, B.|
|Gosford, E.||Sempill, L.|
|Abinger, L.||Derwent, L.||Lansdowne, M.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Devonshire, D.||Lloyd, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Ellenborough, L.||Long, V.|
|Allerton, L.||Elliot of Harwood, B.||Lothian, M.|
|Amherst of Hackney, L.||Foley, L.||MacAndrew, L.|
|Ashbourne, L.||Fortescue, E.||Merrivale, L.|
|Balfour of Inchrye, L.||Fraser of Lonsdale, L.||Molson, L.|
|Bathurst, E.||Fraser of North Cape, L.||Morley, E.|
|Blackford, L.||Freyberg, L.||Newall, L.|
|Bridgeman, V.||Goschen, V.||Newton, L.[Teller.]|
|Buccleuch and Queensberry, D.||Hailsham, V.(L. President.)||Rathcavan, L.|
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Hampton, L.||Robins, L.|
|Carrington, L.||Harris, L.||St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]|
|Chesham, L.||Hastings, L.||St. Oswald, L.|
|Cholmondeley, M.||Hawke, L.||Salisbury, M.|
|Cobbold, L.||Home, E.||Saltoun, L.|
|Colyton, L.||Horsbrugh, B.||Simon, V.|
|Conesford, L.||Howard of Glossop, L.||Stuart of Findhorn, V.|
|Congleton, L.||Howe, E.||Swinton, E.|
|Crathorne, L.||Iddesleigh, E.||Teynham, L.|
|Denham, L.||Jellicoe, E.||Wigram, L.|
|Denning, L.||Kilmuir, V.(L. Chancellor.)||Wolverton, L.|
Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ Clause 2 agreed to.
§ Clause 3:
§ Disqualification on conviction of certain offences
(3) Where a person convicted of an offence specified in the said Part I or the said Part II has within the three years immediately preceding the commission of the offence and since the commencement of this Act been convicted on not less than two occasions of an offence specified in those Parts and particulars of the convictions have been ordered to he endorsed in accordance with section five of this Act, the court shall order him to be disqualified for such period not less than six months as the court thinks fit, unless the court for special reasons thinks fit to order him to be disqualified for a shorter period or not to order him to he disqualified.
§ 5.56 p.m.
§ LORD DERWENT moved in subsection (3) after "Part II" to insert "other than paragraph 9 thereof". The noble Lord said: Paragraph 9, to which this Amendment refers, deals with the offence of speeding; and, when Her Majesty's Government have listened to my argument and have therefore accepted this Amendment, the effect of the Amendment will be that the offence of speeding will still be an offence in Part II of the First Schedule; it will still be an offence for which a licence is endorsed, unless a court finds special reasons against that; and it will still be an offence for which a court may disqualify. What this Amendment does is this: it says that the offence of speeding shall not be one of the three offences which, if committed within a period of three years, mean automatic disqualification of licence.
§ I think that this offence of speeding was not quite fully discussed when the Bill was before your Lordships before, because I believe some of your Lordships were under the same misapprehension as I was. We were given an undertaking that my right honourable friend the Minister of Transport was going to review speed limits and would then make them all realistic. In fact, he cannot really do that without enormous trouble and over a period of many years. He can, of course, with a stroke of the pen and Parliament's permission, alter or vary vehicle speed limits. He can, in exactly the same way, alter road speed limits in the case 1094 of trunk roads. But he cannot with a stroke of the pen, and merely by Parliament saying so, under present law deal with classified roads. He can alter speed limits on classified roads only either if the local authority ask him to do so and he agrees, or if he gives notice to the local authority that he intends to make a directive altering the speed limit and then, if the local authority disagree with him, there has been a public inquiry. As regards classified roads, the Minister of Transport has enough on his plate and he is not going to run his head into that trouble.
§ The reason why I have raised this matter of the speeding offence is that I believe it is the one offence in Part II of the First Schedule which can be purely, absolutely technical or can be extremely serious. I think it is wrong that, where it is a purely technical offence—and it could be; driving at 35 miles an hour on an empty road with a 30 miles an hour limit—a man should be put in the position, because it is one of three offences he has committed in a three-year period, of losing his licence and possibly his livelihood.
I am supported in my contention in that there are two kinds of speeding offence under the principal Act itself, the Road Traffic Act, 1960. Section 4 of the principal Act deals with what I call the technical speeding offence. That is,
an offence of driving a motor vehicle on a road at a speed exceeding a statutory speed limit …".
Many of your Lordships know that on some of the classified roads (to use the word that has been so much used this afternoon) speed limits are nonsense. The ones which are usually worst are those which have been in force for many years. The other day, when I asked why on earth a speed limit had been put on a particular piece of road, I was told that the speed limit was imposed there many years ago—this may be untrue, but this is what I was told—because a local councillor's house was there, and vehicles made more noise if they drove fast. That may or may not be true, but one wonders why such speed limits have been put on those types of road. It is sometimes difficult for a driver to know that a speed limit is likely; and
in those cases where no danger is involved and it is purely, or largely, a technical offence he would be prosecuted under Section 4 of the principal Act.
Then we come to the other kind of speeding mentioned in the principal Act. That comes under Section 2, and in case your Lordships have forgotten the wording of that section may I read the first part of it:
If a person drives a motor vehicle on a road recklessly, or at a speed or in a manner which is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, including the nature, condition and use of the road, and the amount of traffic which is actually at the time, or which might reasonably be expected to be, on the road …
then he shall be guilty of this offence, and so on. That is the section under which the police prosecute in dangerous cases of speeding, and it is the proper section under which they should prosecute. If their evidence is not quite strong enough, they can prosecute, under Section 3, for careless driving. So the Act says there are two different kinds of speeding. It is not that danger has to be proved, but that, in all the circumstances, there could be danger. That is all that has to be proved. In these circumstances, I should have thought that the technical offence of speeding was really not one for which a man should lose his licence—with one proviso, which I shall come to in a minute. Indeed, this Bill deals with two kinds of speeding. Under paragraph 9 of the First Schedule it deals with simple speeding, if I may so term it, and under paragraph 7 it deals with the dangerous speeding. So this Bill also acknowledges that there are two kinds.
§ It may be that my noble friend, when he replies, will say, "What about the persistent offender, who is continually being run in for exceeding the speed limit when there is no evidence of danger or possible danger?" Up to now, it may well have been that that type of offender was not sufficiently seriously dealt with, but under this Bill, with my Amendment in it, every time he is convicted of exceeding the speed limit his licence will be endorsed; and if there are many endorsements on his licence for exceeding the speed limit the court—the proper people to do so, in my submission—have the power to disqualify him. So the persistent offender is 1096 already dealt with. I hope your Lordships will support me in this, because I believe that technical cases of speeding where the speed limits cannot be made realistic all over the country should be taken out of the three offences for which someone can automatically lose his licence. I beg to move.
Page 3, line 2, after ("Part II") insert ("other than paragraph 9 thereof")—(Lord Derwent.)
I very strongly support this Amendment, which has been so well put forward by my noble friend and which I think gives some degree of protection to the professional driver—who, of course, does a far higher mileage per year than most of us do, certainly more than the average person does. Under this Amendment the court may still, at its discretion, disqualify a driver for speeding, but, as I understand it, this Amendment seeks to prevent automatic disqualification by three offences one of which may be an offence of speeding which, in the opinion of the court, does not warrant disqualification. The speeding may well have taken place on a dual-carriageway, with no danger at all, and may be a case in which no court would have disqualified the driver apart from the points system which involves automatic disqualification. I hope Her Majesty's Government will give very careful consideration to this Amendment, which I think they really should accept.
I should like to support this with every atom of strength which I possess, because I feel that the attitude to-day towards speeding by motorists is such an extraordinarily misguided one in so many cases. One hears from right, left and centre of how motorists are driving so fast, and how the number of accidents is going up and everything like that, and it is asked, "Why do we not have a universal speed limit?" Speed, as I have said before in your Lordships' House and in many other places, is not the main source of danger, and, in itself, need not be dangerous at all. It is when people use it unwisely or in circumstances where it is not safe that it becomes dangerous. When we really examine the driving of motorists as a whole we find that very 1097 few of them exceed a speed that is safe under the conditions of the road, the traffic and the weather at the time. There are a few who do, I grant you. There are always a few unwise drivers on the road—more than a few, perhaps. On the other hand, I think we find that the vast majority of motorists are careful to keep within a speed at which they feel that they are absolutely safe, and at which they are in fact absolutely safe.
The trouble, of course, is that speed limits throughout the country are so desperately unrealistic that nobody really bothers to take much notice of them. In fact, my noble friend Lord Teynham mentioned dual-carriageways. Every time I come up to your Lordships' House I come along a stretch of dual-carriageway between Tolworth and Kingston where there is a long stretch of absolutely straight dual-carriageway with a service road for a good deal of its length on both sides, and where there are two lanes in each carriageway; and yet there is a 30-mile limit all along that road. Of course—it is only too natural—nobody observes it. I do not think we are not a law-abiding nation. There is always a small section of the community who habitually break the law; but I think, on the whole, that where we feel the law is realistic and reasonable we observe it. When we see an habitual breaking of any la w there can be only one reason: that that law is totally out of relation to any kind of reality or actual necessity. Therefore, I would support this Amendment very strongly.
§ LORD FOLEY
I also should like to support this Amendment. If I may, I should like to approach it in a slightly different way from other noble Lords who have spoken. I myself am in no way a supporter of the driver who exceeds the speed limit, flagrantly flouting the law. In fact, I well remember that in the debate on a similar Bill in this House a few months ago the noble Viscount the Leader of the House stated, I think quite rightly, that he saw no reason why a person who broke the law for speeding should not pay the penalty, whatever form law breaking by a motorist may take. In that respect I entirely agree with him. But it seems to me that the Government here want to have their cake and eat it at the same time. If they were 1098 to say to us that the Minister proposes to set up, and give us an assurance that he will set up, a Committee of experts to examine the whole question of motor speed limits throughout the country; that he will streamline and bring them into line with current requirements; that he will enforce them strongly and rigorously and woe betide any person who breaks those limits, and if a person does so more than three times he will have his licence taken away from him, then I would support the Government 100 per cent. But such is not the case. The Government are disqualifying motorists who break the limit as it stands today. This is patently nonsense. Ninety-five per cent. of motorists today break the speed limit, because it is quite unrealistic.
I do not know whether any of your Lordships read that in America recently a series of tests took place on various roads, with various speed limits enforced. Say 1,000 motor cars passed on a given road in half an hour; the speed limit was analysed to see whether the motorists conformed to the limit for that particular road. In some cases sections of road were used where ridiculously low speed limits were imposed, and in other cases where ridiculously high speed limits were imposed, just to see what would happen. There was a very interesting result in that motorists were found to take very little notice of the speed limit, but drove at the correct speed. Of course, I am talking of the situation as it is by and large. There are always some reckless motorists who will drive too fast, and some frightened dodderers who will drive too slowly, which in my opinion is equally dangerous. But the fact remains that the great majority of the motorists drove at the right speed for the road, even if the limit was too high. In other words, if there was a 60 miles an hour limit and the motorists considered that 50 was the safe speed, then that was the sort of speed which the motorists followed.
Another example, just to prove my point, is provided by the old days, when the speed limit in the Royal Parks was 20 miles an hour. I doubt whether that limit was observed by one car in a hundred. It was obviously a stupid limit, and was not enforced by the police to any great measure, quite wisely, because the police are sensible people and they 1099 will not pull in anybody who disobeys a patently outmoded law. I think a great deal is to be said for what a famous German philosopher, either Nietzsche or Schopenhauer, once said, that truth is not eternal, and that what applied yesterday does not necessarily apply to-day. I think that is the case with speed limits, If the Minister had the power to bring speed limits into relationship with current needs, I would support him in keeping this particular form of offence in this Part of the Bill. But I think I am right in saying that, under the present legal apparatus, it is not possible to do this, because private authorities come into the matter. The Minister does not have full powers over all roads in the country. If that were the case, as I say, I would support the Government wholeheartedly and say that they are quite right; but if the law is wrong we really cannot penalise people for breaking it. First of all you should make your law right, and then rigorously enforce it. It is in this way that I would support this Amendment.
I should like to support my noble friend, who I think has made an admirable case for this Amendment and has received a great deal of support from these Benches. I think I would entirely endorse nearly all of the arguments which have been used by my noble friends this afternoon as to the totally impracticable nature of the present law. The only reason why I venture to intervene, most arguments in favour of the Amendment having been so fully deployed already, is to draw the Minister's attention to the fact that the speed limits on the roads are not the only absurd anomalies which exist to-day; the vehicle speed limits are equally ridiculous. Let us take, for example, a Thames vehicle, which is made by Ford's. If it is a van with windows, regardless of the engine, the chassis and the performance, there is no restriction. If it has no windows, then under this Bill I gather the licence would be taken away from the driver for six months or more if he were unlucky enough to be caught committing a technical offence. That sort of thing really makes a mockery of the whole of this part of the Bill. Therefore, if my noble friend presses this Amendment, I will certainly support him.
§ LORD MOLSON
I think it is significant that as regards this Clause 3, which was a matter of some controversy when the Bill was last before your Lordships' House, this is the only Amendment that is being moved. It was criticised at the time that it should be proposed that three minor offences taken together—three convictions during two years—should result in an automatic disqualification. I am firmly convinced that it is essential that something of this kind should be done if we are to deal with the problem of road accidents. To-day my noble friend Lord Derwent has again raised the question of speeding, and he points out that speeding can be of various kinds. It can either be a very serious offence in cases where it is tantamount to driving to the danger of the public—reckless driving—or it may in fact be a technical offence; and as some noble friends of mine have said, in certain circumstances it may even be a trivial offence. I do not think we should take the view that speeding can normally be regarded as a trivial offence. I entirely disagree that someone who drives at an excessive speed is not guilty of a serious offence.
§ LORD MOLSON
I should like just to develop my next argument, and then I will gladly give way. The general burden of the speeches that have been made so far has been not that speeding is not in itself a serious offence, but that the speed limits are unrealistic. I am not quite sure that I agree with my noble friend Lord Lloyd about all the restrictions upon vehicles as such, but it is undoubtedly the case that there are many speed limits on roads at the present time which are quite unrealistic. No one could say that it was reckless driving to exceed a limit which was imposed many years ago and which is really no longer applicable in present circumstances.
I think the noble Lord has said exactly what I was about to say. He said that speeding—that is to say, driving at an excessive speed—was not a trivial offence. But, of couse, speeding in the sense in which it is used in this Bill, does not necessarily mean driving at excessive speed. For instance, from the point of view of the 1101 law, driving at 31 m.p.h. in a restricted area is speeding.
§ LORD MOLSON
It was because I thought I knew what was in my noble friend's mind, and as it was just what I was going to say, that I ventured to remain on my feet a little longer in order to make my point. When this matter was under discussion before, we were given an assurance by the Parliamentary Secretary that my right honourable friend the Minister would deal with the problem of speed limits throughout the country. I have absolute confidence that the undertaking that was given will be carried out. The effect of Clause 9 of this Bill will be to make it very much simpler for him to do so. The argument advanced by my noble friend Lord Derwent, about the cumbrous machinery that is necessary, will be done away with, if this Bill is passed in its present form.
After listening to the speeches of noble friends of mine on this side of the House, I would suggest that, if the Government would reiterate their undertaking that the Minister of Transport will deal with the problem of speed limits and that without undue delay they shall be made realistic, then perhaps my noble friends would not press this Amendment. I hope that the Government will give this undertaking, which I think is perfectly fair and reasonable.
§ 6.22 p.m.
§ LORD SILKIN
I think a word from this side of the House might be of some value. I should like to associate myself with the speech which we have just heard from the noble Lord, Lord Molson. I must confess to being a little shocked at the suggestion that we are entitled to break the law if we do not happen to like it. The law of the land is that there are certain restricted areas, and so long as those areas stand it is the duty of the good citizen to obey the law. If he goes beyond the speed permitted, he is committing an offence.
§ LORD FOLEY
In theory, no doubt, the noble Lord is correct, but this Bill, after all, is designed to save life. What happens in practice is that no self-respecting policeman is going to arrest a man for driving at 32 m.p.h. on a road which obviously ought to have a speed limit of 40 m.p.h. The result in practice is that nothing happens, because the law is wrong. The police know it is wrong, 1102 the motorists know it is wrong and nothing happens. I agree with the noble Lord that that does not mean that one should speed; but surely the point is to make the speed limit right first and then try to impose it, and not try to impose a law which is old, bad and outmoded.
§ LORD SILKIN
The noble Lord is repeating what he said in his speech. I do not think he said anything fresh. And my answer is that I am shocked that noble Lords opposite should attempt to justify breaking the law, or at least to condone it.
§ LORD SILKIN
Let us, by all means, use the machinery of Clause 9, when it becomes law, to simplify the multiplicity of speed limits and make them realistic, if they are not already realistic. Noble Lords have quoted their own experiences on roads such as that between Kingston and Tolworth. I suppose I do as much travelling around the country as most noble Lords, and in my experience there are few roads which are restricted and ought not to be, though there may be roads restricted to 20 m.p.h. which should, perhaps, be restricted to 30 m.p.h. I think that wherever a road is restricted there is a good case for it, though, of course, there may be exceptions. To suggest either that it is not an offence really or that it is not so serious an offence as is imagined, because the road from Kingston to Tolworth is all right and one can go along as fast as one likes, and therefore the noble Lord does not think it ought to be restricted, is a doctrine which I hope this House will never accept.
I was only quoting one particular case out of simply dozens which I have come across. Perhaps the noble Lord has driven along A.4 and come across that stretch west of Maidenhead where it is absolutely open country on a trunk road, but still remains restricted because there are lamp-posts. And perhaps he has travelled along A.30, east of Camberley, where there is about another mile of completely open trunk road which is restricted because 1103 there are lamp-posts. Admittedly, the rule of lamp-posts no longer applies, but the old restrictions are not removed.
§ LORD SILKIN
The noble Lord is really not disputing what I say. What he is saying is that, in his opinion, these roads ought not to be restricted merely because there are lamp-posts. I do not happen to know the particular points to which the noble Lord is referring. My own view is that almost universally, if there is a restriction, there is a good case for it. At any rate, it does not lie in the power of anybody to say whether or not he is going to obey the law. So long as those restrictions exist, we have to comply with the law and not speed. I cannot understand the justification for differentiating between one type of speeding and another in regard to this Bill. Of course, it can be taken into account when a person is charged. He will be dealt with according to the seriousness of the offence. But I think it is quite wrong to say that the offences should come within different parts of the Bill from the point of view of disqualification.
§ LORD DERWENT
I interrupt only to hope that the noble Lord will deal with this point in his remarks. There is a differentiation already in the principal Act, which still remains in Part II of the Bill, where the two kinds of speeding are adequately dealt with by the law. I think that where the offence is of a technical character, it is particularly unfair, and this is more adequately dealt with by the existing law than most of the other offences in that Schedule.
§ LORD SILKIN
I do not want to prolong this discussion. I had not intended to speak, but I was brought to my feet more by the speeches made in favour of the Amendment than by the Amendment. After hearing one noble Lord after another justify breaking the law, because they do not happen to approve of particular roads being restricted, I thought that it was something which ought to be rebutted, if not by noble Lords opposite, at least from this side of the House.
I must interrupt the noble Lord once more and point out to him that it is not because I personally, 1104 as an individual, think that a limit should not apply; it is because it is perfectly obvious to anybody with driving experience that it should not apply.
§ LORD SILKIN
The noble Lord is setting up his own judgment against what is the law at the present time. Is he not really saying, "This is the law, but I do not like the law. I do not think it is justified. Therefore, I am entitled, morally, perhaps even legally, to break the law, and everybody does so"? I thought that that doctrine ought to be repudiated. Whether it is a serious offence or not is a matter which will be considered by the magistrates. Admittedly, when the noble Lord talks of 31 m.p.h. it is an offence; but a magistrate will deal with that in a very different way from dealing with a person who has driven at 70 m.p.h. But to suggest that it is quite all right to go at any speed you like (this is what brought me to my feet) if you do not happen to approve of a particular restriction, is, as I have said, something that we ought to repudiate.
§ LORD FOLEY
I think the noble Lord has interpreted all the speeches from this side of the Committee incorrectly. I do not think any noble Lord, and certainly not said it is quite right to break the speed limit. What I think has been said is that the way speed limits stand at the moment they are broken by a high percentage of motorists, and this takes place because they are outmoded and the average motorist does not pay attention to them. Bad laws are always much more difficult to enforce than good ones. This is not a case of any noble Lord thinking it is justifiable to break the law by exceeding the speed limit. I do not think it is. But I think the fact that limits are broken by many motorists points to the fact that something should be done in the case of a law which is not quite right. This is the attitude, and not that noble Lords justify or condone the breaking of the law.
§ 6.32 p.m.
The verb "speeding" jars on me terribly. I wonder when we turn speed into a verb. It looks a bad word. The offence is really exceeding the speed limit. The commercial driver is almost bound to do that, because the limits placed on him are such that he cannot carry on his 1105 work without exceeding the speed limit which is appropriate to his particular vehicle. As we all know, on a large category of vehicles the limit has been kept unrealistically low because there was a dispute between employers and employed for many years over the question of the alteration of schedules should the limit be lifted. We all know that on another category of vehicles the limit is imposed in order that the Treasury may safeguard the revenue from purchase tax. I personally have no confidence whatever that any Minister of Transport would be likely to get that limit rescinded unless the purchase tax were changed in some way.
In both these categories the drivers are bound to exceed the limit almost the whole of their time on the open road in the natural course of their business; and if the Bill is passed it will be perfectly possible for them co lose their licence and their livelihood for doing what their country expects them to do, and something which, unless it is continued, would bring the whole trade and commerce of the country to a standstill. I cannot be a party to a law which, by maintaining unrealistic speed limits on these vehicles for reasons other than road safety, holds over the head of every commercial driver the threat of disqualification. This enables the State to have a potential charge, with a very serious punishment, held over the head of a great many of its citizens. That is not a situation which I regard as British but one which I believe is wrong in moral principle. Therefore, I will support the Amendment.
I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, for forging ahead, in spite of interruptions, to make his point. It is a good point, and one that ought to be made, but I think it emphasises the fact that this law certainly ought to be changed and ought not to carry such heavy penalties in the Bill now before us until it has been changed. I sense that the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, was a little too nice in his argument. If I may give an example, I believe there is a regulation which says that you may not use your hooter at certain times. There is one corner in the town of Mac-duff where, whatever penalty they bring in, I am going to use my hooter, because unless I do I endanger human life in 1106 going round that corner. In the same way with a speed limit, however drastically applied, there may be a higher law, and somebody may be being rushed to hospital. It may be said that this is all very well, but a magistrate would never convict in such a case. But that is not the point. The fact is that if you take the precise point taken by the noble Lord, Lord Sikin, that you must on no account, under any consideration, break the law, then the point is too nice to be maintained. In, any event, I hope that this Amendment will be carried.
§ 6.34 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I think we are possibly in danger of losing track of exactly what we are discussing and what it is that the Government desire to do. I can only say, as a general point (to begin with, that the Government have always attached a great deal of importance to maintaining this paragraph in Part II of the First Schedule, and I can only reiterate arguments which I have put before the Committee on a number of occasions which lead me inescapably to the conclusion that we are bound to stand fast. If noble Lords, and my noble friends in particular, are openminded on the subject, which I feel sure they will be, I hope they will bear with me, even if I spend a little time in saying why it is we feel that if we are to deal seriously and conscientiously with the question of accidents it is vital that this clause should remain as it is. This is a matter of immense importance and, at the risk of wearying the Committee, I will just recall in a sentence or two what we are seeking to do.
All accidents are, in my experience, due to negligence. I have hardly ever heard of an inevitable accident on the road. They may' e due to a pedestrian's negligence; they may be due to a cyclist's negligence or to the negligence of a motorist; and many of them would never occur if we had a really up-to-date road system. That we all know. But of the kinds of negligence which cause accidents, when it is the motorist's negligence by far the commonest three cases are not keeping a proper lookout, driving on the wrong part of the road, and driving at a speed which in all the circumstances is excessive.
On the Second Reading of the Bill I pointed out—and I must adhere to it —that when you are dealing with 1107 dangerous machinery (and whether one uses emotional language and calls a motor car a lethal weapon, or not, a motor car is undoubtedly dangerous machinery) you can avoid negligence only if, among other things, you apply certain safety regulations. This is true whether you are dealing with a shotgun, with a factory machine, or with a motor car. Obviously, it is also true that in all safety regulations there is an element of the arbitrary. We tell our children not to point a gun even if they know it to be unloaded; and to take the cartridges out of a gun if they are crossing a fence, even though they may have a modern gun which can be put at safe. Safety regulations are to be observed even though they are of a nature that partakes of the arbitrary; and all traffic regulations partake of the nature of the arbitrary. We all know that we can cross the red light, if we take suitable precautions, in the middle of the night, without causing danger. But that does not mean that it is wrong to have a red light regulation. We all know that we can travel at 31 m.p.h. or 32 m.p.h., without causing any actual danger, on a number of occasions. But that does not mean that it is wrong to have a speed limit. We all know that from time to time the regulations get out-of-date and need to be revised. And revised they certainly must be, and continuously under revision, because the ability of motor cars to stop, and the visibility of lights, and other precautions, vary from time to time; what is safe for one age may not be safe for another. But that is a reason for keeping the regulations up to date, and not for not having them.
This Bill is designed to ensure that when a person is convicted of three offences in a particular category, of failing to observe the safety precautions for this dangerous piece of machinery three times, within a period of three years, he will lose his licence—not because we desire to punish the motorist, but because we regard it as essential if life and limb are to be saved on the road. I must say that I have attended a great number of the debates we have had about this Bill. So far not one of my noble friends, nor any Member of this House, has produced a single case where a person has been convicted, even under the existing law, unjustly 1108 three times in three years. The principle upon which this Bill goes is the principle of the greatest living Englishman, Sir Winston Churchill, when he said "Three times is a lot"—and three times in three years is a lot to be guilty of when it is an offence against regulations for the safety of the public, whether you are a professional driver or an amateur driver.
May I say in passing that I do not quite understand why my noble friend Lord Teynham lays such stress on the professional driver. The professional driver is bound to be safe precisely because he is more often on the road than the amateur driver. Incidentally, there is nothing in the Amendment to differentiate between the professional driver and the amateur driver, and I am quite certain that if any noble Lord proposed an Amendment which would differentiate between them he would find himself in insuperable difficulties of one sort or another.
I think my noble friend has missed the point, if I may say so. It is because the professional driver is nearly always the driver of a vehicle upon which there is an unrealistic speed limit, and so he has a dual hazard.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I am answering the point made by my noble friend Lord Teynham, which is not that point. I quite recognise the point that my noble friend Lord Hawke made, and I will come to it in due course.
§ LORD DERWENT
I wish to interrupt my noble friend on the point with which he was dealing. He said that no cases have been found where somebody has been convicted of three offences in three years.
§ LORD DERWENT
How do we know, because they were not endorsable offences, whereas now half of them are?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I do not know why, if they were not endorsable offences, it should have prevented noble Lords from producing examples where a man had been unjustly convicted three times in three years. If anybody thinks that four is the correct figure, 1109 it would be open, either in another place or at a later stage of the Bill, to put "four" in. What they are complaining of is that, in any number of convictions which includes one for exceeding the speed limit, the one for exceeding the speed limit should be included at all. It is that which, I am bound to say, I must take a great deal of trouble to controvert. This is not a view arrived at by me out of any desire to penalise the motorist. I have driven myself since 1924. I have been convicted at least three times of exceeding the speed limit, though never within three years; and I think I can claim very wide professional experience in motoring cases. If I were not passionately, personally convinced that this was an essential feature of the Bill, I should say so. But I am convinced, and I hope the House will therefore bear with me if I expound my reasons at a little length, because this is a matter of some importance to us, and it is important that this House should face conscientiously the issues involved.
Of course, it is easy to make fun of the speed limit—32 miles an hour on a particular road which one happens to know and thinks perfectly safe. It may well be that one could prolong that discussion indefinitely. But the first thing I would say is this. No noble Lord has remarked on the concessions which the Government have already made on Clause 3 in the passage of the Bill; and, quite apart from the concessions, what safeguards there are. Of course, if someone is travelling just over a statutory speed limit within the range of legitimate mistake, it is open to a court which thinks that is the case to grant an absolute discharge, in which case there is no conviction or endorsement.
I suppose that any wisely directed or properly advised magistrates' court would do precisely that, if in fact there are the particular circumstances mentioned by my noble friend Lord Saltoun, as, for instance, when a man is taking somebody to hospital. I once defended a man who was taking his wife across red lights when she was about to have a baby. In that case there was an absolute discharge. But even if there were not an absolute discharge, there would be special circumstances, so that 1110 in so far as the magistrates had one of those cases they could exercise the discretion which has been deliberately given them in all three cases under the Bill as now drafted, under which the licence would not be endorsed, and in that case the particular offence would not count against the accused for the purposes of disqualification.
These things are looked after in the Bill, and, for that reason, I quite frankly think too much has been made of them. As I said in the previous series of debates, and I feel that I must reiterate it now, the principle that there should be a speed limit independently of the law of dangerous and careless driving—and this deals with a point made by my noble friend Lord Derwent—is a proposition upon which I must insist. I must also insist upon the proposition that if a motorist habitually and deliberately flouts the law as regards speed limits, even though the summonses are not accompanied with prosecutions for dangerous or careless driving, he ought to lose his licence. That is my view, and it is the view of the Government.
I was frankly surprised and a little frightened by the speech of my noble friend Lord Somers and by the speech of my noble friend Lord Foley. My noble friend Lord Somers claimed that only a few unwise drivers habitually exceeded what it was safe to do. My noble friend Lord Foley seemed to think that the whole or a large part of the present speed limits were outmoded, as he put it. I would proceed to examine that on the evidence to which I hope the House will listen.
May I, before I do so, accede to the request of my noble friend Lord Molson, who invited the Government to reiterate the assurances both of humane application and a revision of speed limits, as and when necessary, made on the previous occasion. I happily accede to that. It is still my right honourable friend's intention to revise these limits, and, if I may say so in answer to my noble friend Lord Saltoun, we have provided in this Bill fresh machinery for doing so.
§ LORD DERWENT
Is the Minister of Transport going to revise classified road speed limits, and if so how?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I think my noble friend dealt with that. I think it is in Clause 9 of the Bill. It is certainly the intention to examine the whole question of speed limits and to see, so far as we can, that they are realistic. But for reasons which I am about to give. I must tell some of my noble friends that their views about what is realistic and our views about what is safe may not exactly coincide in all cases. I should like to tell my noble friend Lord Hawke that I have a little piece of news, irrespective of the merits of this Amendment, which may bring comfort to his heart. Your Lordships will recall that when we discussed the subject before, my noble friend Lord Chesham said that his right honourable friend was reviewing all speed limits, both those applicable to buses and those to different classes of vehicles, to ensure that they were realistic. My noble friend then said at that time that the vehicle speed limits set out in the First Schedule to the Road Traffic Act, 1960, were being referred to the Departmental Committee on Road Safety for review and advice. Your Lordships will also recall that the speed limit for buses and coaches outside built-up areas was raised from 30 to 40 miles per hour during the course of, or immediately after, our debates in the last series when the Bill was last before the House.
The Departmental Committee on Road Safety met last week and considered certain proposals laid before them relating to speed limits for vehicles other than buses or coaches, and in general they came down in favour of these proposals. These are too complex to be dealt with here, and there are, in any case, one or two minor details which have still to be sorted out. But I am sure your Lordships will be interested to know that the principal proposal before the Road Safety Committee established that the maximum speed, outside built-up areas, of ordinary commercial vehicles, not drawing trailers, should be raised from 30 to 40 miles an hour. I hope that my noble friend, Lord Hawke, will be duly pleased to have that piece of news. I think your Lordships will appreciate that if this proposal goes through, it will make it much more difficult for a driver of a goods vehicle charged with exceeding his legal speed limit to claim that he was in fact com- 1112 mitting a technical offence in which no element of danger was involved.
I now turn to the case which was presented by my noble friend Lord SaM̃ers and, to a lesser extent, by my noble friend Lord Foley, which was to the effect that only a very few people exceeded a truly safe limit and that therefore the limits in fact were outmoded and had no real relevance to road safety. I should like to quote certain figures, because this is a matter which has been most closely studied by the Road Research Laboratory, for which I am departmentally responsible, and it really is not open, I should have thought, on the scientific evidence available, to take the extreme attitude which my noble friend is taking. I give first of all three particular examples. The 30 m.p.h. built-up area speed limit was established in Great Britain in 1935. The immediate effect of it was to reduce fatal accidents by at least 15 per cent., and all personal injury accidents by at least 3 per cent. in built up areas. That is the limit which my noble friends now say is outmoded and ought to be disregarded, apparently at their pleasure because it is thought that no one really regards it as reasonable.
May I interrupt the noble Viscount? Would he just recall that that was in fact raising the speed limit because the previous one had been 20 m.p.h., which was in observance for about twenty years?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My noble friend is completely mistaken, and I would remind him of what the situation was. It is true that, under the Act of 1906, 20 m.p.h. was the speed limit. That speed limit was removed, and no speed limit thereafter existed from 1930 to 1935, and the position arising in 1935 by the imposition of the 30 m.p.h. speed limit was not a raising of the speed limit; it was the imposing of a speed limit where no previous speed limit existed in a built-up area. Because the 20 m.p.h. speed limit had been omitted from 1930 onwards very many fatal accidents took place before the 30 m.p.h. limit was thought right.
The second example is the 30 m.p.h. built-up area speed limit in Northern Ireland. Unlike the position in Great Britain, there was no general built-up area speed limit in Northern Ireland 1113 until October, 1956. They had not profited by our example. The effect of imposing the limit only five years ago in Northern Ireland in built-up areas was to reduce the main speed of cars in outer suburban areas from 36 to 29 m.p.h. This led to a reduction of 31 per cent. in fatal or serious accidents and to a 22 per cent. reduction of slight accidents in the speed-limit areas compared with the non-built-up areas.
The third example I would give is the effect of imposing a 40 m.p.h. speed limit on various main roads in Greater London in 1958 and 1959. These again are contemporary limits of which complaint is being made. The effect of that speed limit on roads which were formerly unrestricted was to produce a reduction of 30 per cent. in fatal and serious accidents and of 20 per cent. in all personal injury accidents. In the face of statistics like this, which are perfectly available to anyone who wants to study the question, I am absolutely aghast that my noble friend Lord Somers should publicly state that there are only a few motorists whose conduct can be influenced by a speed limit in such a way as to avoid accidents, often of a fatal character.
The evidence is absolutely overwhelming to the contrary, and in my judgment it is not really open to anybody to suggest, as a matter of scientific evidence, that it is not so. If they want a general statement on the situation I would refer my noble friends to the Report of the Road Research Laboratory for 1960, where, on page 63, it has a quite considerable section devoted to the effect of a speed limit in various countries. I know that my noble friend Lord Foley will be interested in this, because he referred to an experiment in the United States of America. I will not read the whole section, but the relevant paragraph is so striking that I cannot refrain from quoting it. It says:The number of accidents before and after the imposition of speed limits in built-up areas of Switzerland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Federal Republic of Germany and Sweden have been examined. In every case the imposition of a speed limit coincided with a reduction in the number of fatalities in built-up areas relative to those of non-built-up areas. The imposition of certain speed limits in Belgium and Jersey also coincided with a reduction in fatalities in these areas. There was some evidence that the effects 1114 of these speed limits were especially marked on main roads and for two-wheeled vehicles.I cannot read the whole section. In answer to a Question in another place quite recently, the Parliamentary Secretary gave evidence, based on the findings of the Road Research Laboratory, that the Road Research Laboratory had data from a number of countries on safety prevention and accident frequency before and after speed limits were imposed. It was found, with speed limits, that although exceeded by a high proportion of drivers, their imposition in urban areas was usually followed by marked reduction in serious accidents.
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Viscount again, but I must make it clear that I think he has entirely misunderstood me. I am not in the least advocating total abolition of speed limits. There are places where they are necessary and I am in entire agreement with them. But what I am trying to do is to avoid the penalising of motorists who, having this realisation that there is no necessity whatsoever for particular limits, disregard them. Of course where we have a totally unnecessary law it brings the law into contempt, which is a thing I should like to avoid.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I do not know who is, but we can say who is the judge. What I was really answering is the statement of my noble friend which I took down at the time. How can he possibly maintain his position in the light of the evidence to the contrary which I have given him? I quite see, of course, that it is necessary to revise these limits from time to time. I thought his request to do so was reasonable and I reaffirm the assurance we gave on previous occasions, but I cannot, in the light of the evidence, accept that speeding is a trivial, technical offence.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
"Technical offence" were the words used by the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, for cases unaccompanied by prosecution for dangerous, reckless, or careless driving. I take the contrary view, that it is not 1115 a technical offence; that it is just as bad when done deliberately, and done with a margin over the minimum, as driving over the double white line or driving against the red light, both of which can be done without a prosecution for dangerous or careless driving; and that the interest of the motorist is perfectly adequately safeguarded by the clause as it stands, by the necessity for three offences within three years before the disqualification attaches automatically, and by the provision which exists in the law for an absolute discharge. And I should have thought, in any of the potential cases cited by noble Lords, that, with the provision which has been introduced into the Bill as a result of the help given by this House, the magistrates may on suitable occasions find special circumstances and so relieve the motorist of the consequences of what he has done. I therefore cannot accept this Amendment. I am bound to say to the House that it is my genuine and deep-felt opinion that this is one of the crucial clauses and provisions in the Bill, and that we should not have conscientiously done our duty towards road safety if we did not carry the clause, in this respect, in the way in which we have proposed it to the House.
§ LORD DERWENT
I am not going to try to answer all the points raised, but might I, through the thick smoke screen that has been raised around us, come back to what the Amendment is? In my Amendment there are still increased penalties for speeding; endorsement is compulsory, except in very special cases, and the courts can disqualify. There is no argument about that. All these, in view of this Bill, are likely to be very great deterrents. What we are saying is that speed limits are unrealistic, and in spite of my noble Leader's remark that I should not use words like "technical" or "trivial", I say there can be cases of technical or trivial exceeding of the speed limit, and there are very many other ways of dealing with the more serious cases.
There is not the slightest doubt that many roads in this country have unrealistic speed limits. My noble friend, Lord Molson, tempted me to withdraw this Amendment if I could get a full undertaking that all speed limits would 1116 be reviewed. The last time we got it—and my noble Leader confirmed it to-day—it was that vehicle speed limits would be considered. To-day he has given an undertaking that, so far as he knows, all speed limits will be reviewed. But in my view—and I have heard nothing against it—the Minister of Transport cannot do it. He cannot do it on classified roads because it would take too much work and too much time. He can do it in the long run but not in the short run, because it means public inquiries in each case.
§ LORD MOLSON
Under Clause 9 of this Bill it will be found there is no longer any need for a public inquiry. It will speed up the whole procedure. In view of the undertaking that the Government has given, I appeal to my noble friend not to press this point further. We have had exactly the assurance he has asked for.
§ LORD DERWENT
My noble friend is referring to subsection (2) (b). Has a survey been done? Can that be done quickly? Can the Minister initiate a survey on all the classified roads so that the speed limits are realistic within a short space of time? It cannot be done. I take the point of my noble friend. Lord Molson, but it cannot be done. I am not satisfied with the law in this state where it can take away a man's living and take away his licence when there are no aggravating circumstances, where a bench must convict if the offence is proved and must endorse his licence. I really do not think it is good enough. I ask your Lordships to give your opinion on it and I would ask you to support the Amendment.
§ LORD CHESHAM
I did not like to interrupt my noble friend on this point, but perhaps I should have done to try to help him by calling his attention back to the assurance that I was in a position to give the House earlier. My noble friend is quite right when he says that my right honourable friend is not in a position, personally, to review the speed limits on classified roads. He is in a position to do that on trunk roads, of course, and that he is going to do. He is circularising all local authorities asking them to review the speed limits on the classified roads, and it is hoped that will be completed as soon as it can be. We have dealt with the vehicle speed limits, 1117 and therefore I think that my noble friend has got something very like the assurance he wants.
§ LORD DERWENT
These classified road speed limits are, in the first place, settled, with the Minister's approval, by the local authority. It is all very fine to ask local authorities to review their speed limits, but if they have settled them they
§ Clause 3 agreed to.1118
§ think they are right, and what we want to be certain of is that they are right, and unless they are right a man ought not to lose his licence.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 11; Not-Contents, 50.1117
|Airedale, L.||Derwent, L. [Teller.]||Somers, L.|
|Allerton, L.||Foley, L.||Terrington, L.|
|Brentford, V.||Gosford, E.||Teynham, L.|
|Congleton, L.||Hawke, L. [Teller.]|
|Abinger, L.||Elton, L.||Morley, E.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Hailsham, V. (L. President.)||Morrison, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Harris, L.||Newall, L.|
|Alexander of Hillsborough, V.||Hastings, L.||Newton, L. [Teller.]|
|Amherst of Hackney, L.||Home, E.||Northesk, E.|
|Ashbourne, L.||Horsbrugh, B.||Robertson of Oakridge, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Jellicoe, E.||St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]|
|Bathurst, E.||Kilmuir, V. (L. Chancellor.)||St. Oswald, L.|
|Burden, L.||Kinnoull, E.||Saltoun, L.|
|Chesham, L.||Lansdowne, M.||Shepherd, L.|
|Colville of Culross, V.||Lawson, L.||Silkin, L.|
|Conesford, L.||Lothian, M.||Simon, V.|
|Crathorne, L.||Lucan, E.||Strabolgi, L.|
|Denham, L.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Strang, L.|
|Devonshire, D.||Merrivale, L.||Walston, L.|
|Ellenborough, L.||Merthyr, L.||Wolverton, L.|
|Elliot of Harwood, B.||Molson, L.|
Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ Clause 4 agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ House adjourned at a quarter past seven o'clock.