§ LORD GARDINER
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
The Question was as follows:
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have accepted or rejected the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Police in Northern Ireland that, with certain amendments, the Scottish system of independent public prosecutors should be adopted in Northern Ireland.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR NORTHERN IRELAND (LORD WINDLESHAM)
My Lords, the Prosecution of Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 1972, which will be considered by your Lordships later to-day, makes changes in the system of prosecutions in Northern Ireland following on the recommendations contained in the Reports of the Advisory Committee on Police in Northern Ireland (Cmd. 535) and the Working Party on Public Prosecutions (Cmd. 554). When these changes have been fully implemented police officers will no longer act as prosecutors in magistrates' courts except in respect of minor offences.
§ LORD GARDINER
My Lords, while I thank the noble Lord for that Answer, does it mean that the Government accept the recommendation of Lord Hunt's Committee on this point?
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
My Lords, the principle behind the recommendation is accepted. The principle was that there should be a system of independent public prosecutions. The form of the suggestion, that it should be modelled on the Scottish system, has been adapted in the light of the report of the Working Party presided over by Mr. John MacDermott.