§ [References are to Bill 94 as first printed for the Commons]
§ [No. 1]
Clause 2, page 3, line 22, leave out subsection (3) and insert—
(3) It shall also, subject to subsections (3A) and (4) of this section, be an offence for any person intentionally to communicate any information which is false, misleading or deceptive in a material particular, where the communication of the information endangers the safety of an aircraft in flight or is likely to endanger the safety of aircraft in flight.
(3A) It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (3) of this section to prove—
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 1. The purpose of this Amendment is to replace subsection (3) of Clause 2 of the Bill by a new subsection which differs from the previous subsection (3) in two ways. The first is by making it an offenceintentionally to communicate information which is false, misleading or deceptive in a material particular, where the communication of that information endangers the safety of an aircraft in flight or is likely to endanger the safety of aircraft in flight.In so far as the Amendment includes information which is misleading or deceptive, it extends subsection (3), as it now is, which as previously drafted related only to information which the giver knew to be false or which he had no reason to believe to be true.
Secondly, the Amendment specifies the defences open to a person communicating 1540 information which is false, misleading or deceptive. It would be a defence for him to prove that he believed, and had reasonable grounds for believing, that the information was true. This means that, for example, any person who had reason to believe that there was a bomb on board an aircraft, though in fact there was not, would not be guilty of an offence if he acted as a good citizen in communicating this information. The Amendment also provides that it is a defence for a person accused of an offence to prove that when he communicated it he was lawfully employed to perform duties that consisted of, or included, the communication of information—for example, as a Telex or telephone operator—and that he communicated the information in good faith in the performance of those duties. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(Lord Drumalbyn.)
§ LORD HOY
My Lords, the only comment I want to make is that this Amendment is so big that it is difficult to understand how it was missed out before. There seem to me to be many provisions inside this Amendment to give protection. One is grateful for the protection that is given to an informant who might well think that some dangerous instrument was on board, that he or she should not be prosecuted simply because the information may have been mistaken. We are grateful that that has been achieved, even inside this very long Amendment.
§ LORD DRUMALBYN
My Lords, I should not like to leave any misunderstanding about this point. What the Amendment does is to extend "falsity" to include being misleading or deceptive. The reason why it originally read only "false" was because that was what the Convention said. We have considered this matter, and we are satisfied that to include "misleading and deceptive" information would not in fact bring us out of line with Article 1(1) of the Montreal Convention. It is, we think, legitimate to include "false" in the context of that Article as including information which is "misleading or deceptive", and it is in line with our other legislation.