HL Deb 02 March 1976 vol 368 cc954-70

5.26 p.m.

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, that the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

House in Committee accordingly.

[The Earl CATHCART in the Chair.]

Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.

Clause 5 [Orders excluding persons from Northern Ireland]:

On Question, Whether Clause 5 shall stand Part of the Bill?


I rise to ask about the practical effect of this clause. On Second Reading the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, gave statistics of these people who had been excluded from Great Britain under Clause 4 since the Act was passed 15 months ago. Clause 5 now provides for exclusion orders from Northern Ireland. This is a new clause which has been moved into the measure by the Government in another place and is as yet totally untried.

On 1st February at a rally in Londonderry, Rory O'Brady of Sinn Fein is reported to have called for no partnership and no reconcilliation in Northern Ireland under British rule. Today the Northern Ireland Convention is meeting for the last time with the hope, still faint but not yet extinguished, of achieving partnership and reconcilliation, precisely the two things that Mr. O'Brady crossed the Border to announce should not be achieved. It is significant that Provisional Sinn Fein is not at the Convention; Provisional Sinn Fein is not a Party, in that it has no elected representatives at the Convention. Mr. O'Brady therefore is one who represents nobody in Northern Ireland and whose Party represents nobody in Northern Ireland; he crosses the Border merely to make inflamatory and subversive speeches. I therefore ask the Government, on a matter about which many people including myself feel very deeply, if the House can be told whether the Home Secretary is now intending to make an exclusion order under Clause 5 against Mr. O'Brady. If for any reason no such action is contemplated, may I ask under what other legislation threatening language of this sort is to be prevented?


As the noble Lord has just pointed out, this is a new clause which was inserted during the Report stage in another place as a result of representations made by a number of the noble Lord's honourable friends. The Government took the view that it would be wise to amend the Bill in this respect. As the noble Lord will realise, I find it difficult to answer a precise question of the kind which he has just put to me because I should have to give long consideration before answering a question in relation to a named individual. Clearly, when the Secretary of State is armed with the power in question, it is quite likely that he may use it in appropriate cases. On the other hand, I hope that the noble Lord will recognise that it puts me in some difficulty if I begin to speculate about how a particular power should be used in relation to a particular individual. Nevertheless, the fact that the Government have thought it right to confer upon the Secretary of State—who, in this respect, would be the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland—a power of the kind laid out in this clause, shows that there was some unease about the original Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act. We have moved in this respect and I hope it will satisfy the noble Lord that the Government are seized of the importance of this power and will use it in appropriate cases.


I should like to acknowledge the fact that the clause was put into the Bill as a result of suggestions which were made in another place. I omitted to acknowledge that and to say that I was grateful for it, as indeed I am. I deliberately brought up the point not only because I feel very strongly about it but also because a great deal was said in another place about its fulfilling what was called the "principle of reciprocity". That is not entirely so. In the present case—that is, the happening on 1st February in Londonderry—there is no question of reciprocity in Northern Ireland. It is a straight case of somebody coming into Northern Ireland from a place other than Great Britain and acting in a way which should, in my opinion, be condemned. I certainly accept that the noble Lord cannot give a specific answer about a specific case, but I am glad to have had the opportunity of raising the subject under this clause.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 agreed to.

5.33 p.m.

Clause 7 [Right to make representations etc. to Secretary of State]:

Lord WIGODER moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 5, line 22, at end insert (" and (c) include in those representations' a request that at the interview he may be accompanied by a legal adviser or other person.")

The noble Lord said: With your Lordships' leave, I shall speak at the same time to Amendment No. 2. The position is that Clause 7 is a new clause which gives a person who may be subject to the making of an exclusion order the right to be heard personally by one of the advisers. My concern is with the person who may be innocent of any offence, who may be wholly illiterate, who may perhaps be mentally unstable, and who may be totally incapable of presenting a proper case to the adviser. My concern is simply that he should be given such assistance as may be reasonable in the circumstances. All I have endeavoured to do in these two Amendments is to write into the Bill the effect of what was said by the Home Secretary on 28th January. He said: I would also be prepared to say that, when the adviser takes the view that it is reasonable in the circumstances, the person should be accompanied by someone, by a legal adviser or a friend or relation if that is thought appropriate. But I must hold the position that in certain cases which could be very difficult and sensitive the question must be whether the adviser, knowing what he has to deal with, thinks this is a reasonable procedure.…What I will say is that I am not prepared to accept a blanket provision that in all cases there is a right to legal representation. That moves towards a quasi-judicial procedure which this is not, should not be and in my view cannot be without undermining its whole purpose. What I am prepared to say and what I tried to say is that in many cases the adviser might be content that the person should be accompanied by someone else, whether a legal adviser, a friend or a relation, according to the view of the individual and of the adviser. That would be reasonable in many cases, but I could not accept it as being a statutory right, because there might he cases in which it would be inappropriate."—[Official Report, Commons, 28/1/76; cols. 527 and 528.] I have accepted at once, as I indicated on Second Reading, that the proceedings are proceedings of an executive and not of a judicial nature and I accept at the same time that there are many cases in which it will not be appropriate for a person against whom an exclusion order is sought to be represented or assisted because of security grounds. I have not tried to go any further in these Amendments than to make provision in the Bill for what the Home Secretary said was the existing practice. I have sought only to provide, first, that when a person who is subject to the making of an exclusion order applies for a personal interview under the existing clause he can at the same time, if he wishes, apply to be accompanied by a legal adviser or other person at the interview. Secondly, I have endeavoured to provide that, if a request of that nature is made, the adviser shall consider the matter and shall grant the request unless, in his absolute discretion —so there is no question of any appeal to the courts—he comes to the conclusion, having regard to all the circumstances, that it would be contrary to the public interest in the case in question.

It may be that the wording is not entirely apt. I need hardly say that I should be perfectly happy to accept an improved drafting in the hope that something can be produced which will go no farther than the words which the Minister accepted as the view of the Government on Second Reading. If it is asked why it is necessary to write this into a Bill rather than leave it as the existing practice, I venture to put forward two reasons. First, it is desirable that publicity should be given to the procedure and that it should be an official procedure so that it is known by everybody against whom an exclusion order is made. Secondly, it is always possible that there may be a change of Home Secretary or of adviser. I believe that it is desirable that, if there should be changes of that nature, the present practice should be given a statutory backing so that, subject to proper safeguards, it will become the right of an individual in these circumstances to be assisted at an interview provided that the adviser agrees that it is reasonable in all the circumstances. I beg to move.


I hope that the Government will not accept anything that weakens this Bill. I believe that the Amendment would do so. I am a lawyer myself. I believe that we have our function, but I certainly do not feel that the purpose of this Bill would be assisted by the presence of a lawyer. If one were to ask any police officer whether he was more likely to get the truth from an interview in which he had a man before him alone or one in which the man's hand was held by a lawyer, I have little doubt that that police officer would say that the chances of getting the truth were far better without the presence of a lawyer. We are not here considering cases in which guilt or innocence is in question.

It has often been said that it is better that 10 guilty men should go free than that one innocent man should be convicted. Should have thought that here almost the opposite ratio applied. People are entering the country with, and travelling about with, explosives which they intend to use, and which they do use, indiscriminately to kill and to maim people. It is far better that 10 people, who are quite innocent, should be excluded than that one man, with the intention which I have mentioned, should be admitted. I urge the Government to accept nothing at all that weakens their hands in this situation. Indeed, I can think of a great many things which I should like them to ask for which would strengthen their hands.

5.40 p.m.


There is one point on which I believe the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, and the Government are in complete agreement namely, that in certain circumstances—I repeat "certain circumstances"—a legal representative, or another person, may accompany the individual who is subject to an exclusion order. My right honourable friend said in another place what the noble Lord has quoted today, and I expressed the continuing support of the Government for that position when I replied to the debate in this House on Second Reading. But there is a difference between the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, and the Government on this matter, and I want to identify it at once. The difference is that the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, wants to put this provision on the face of the Bill, while we do not. I shall seek to show why I think that it would be better to avoid having this provision written into the Bill.

It is true that in his Amendment the noble Lord has written in a qualification; namely, that the adviser could decide that it would be contrary to the public interest for a third party to be present. But we believe that this goes too far. It shifts—I was going to say subtly, but it might be rather more than subtly—on to the adviser the onus to state that it would be contrary to the public interest. Over a period of time Parliamentary Questions can be put down in either House. If it were shown, or could be shown, that one adviser had used this particular qualification and had consistently decided against having a third person present at the interview, it could well be argued that the adviser was flouting the intention of Parliament. This would be an extremely unfair and unjust charge to make against the noble Lord, Lord Alport, and Mr. Ronald Waterhouse, QC, who at the moment are undertaking the exceptionally difficult job of conducting interviews in these cases.

The Committee should be under no illusion that this is a difficult and, to some extent, a dangerous business. The information available to the authorities and to the adviser often comes from highly sensitive sources, and for this reason the job of the adviser is particularly difficult. I am bound to say that if a new and additional burden were to be imposed by Parliament at this stage, it would, in my judgment, be unreasonable. It is only right to say that because of the exclusion order process many dangerous men have been removed from this country. As a result of their removal, a number of our fellow citizens, who would otherwise be dead, are today alive. Although we are doing everything we possibly can to avoid injustice to any citizen, we should have no doubt that, as a result of the events of recent weeks, and indeed the events of last night, we are still confronting a grave terrorist threat in this country. We must balance the interests of the person who is subject to an exclusion order with the wider public interest, to which my noble friend Lord Paget of Northampton has just referred.

I return to the point that I believe that, on the principle of the matter, there is not a great gulf between what the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, has put forward today and what the Government intend. But, for reasons which I have tried to set out, we believe that it would be wrong to have an explicit reference to this assurance given in the Bill. I have no doubt that in appropriate cases the advisers would act on the basis of the assurance given by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary.

But I must put it to the Committee that there are certain circumstances in which, with a provision of this kind, the third party, who need not necessarily be a lawyer, and who might be nominated by the person subject to the exclusion order, might himself be well known to the authorities as an active sympathiser of the provisional IRA, albeit not himself a person who could be subject to the exclusion order process. That position would not be known to the wider public. It would not be known when Parliamentary criticism was voiced against an adviser for having possibly flouted the intention of Parliament by not agreeing in sufficient cases to a third party being present. In such circumstances, which as I have indicated are highly difficult matters for the adviser, it seems to me wrong to impose this additional burden upon him. For that reason I very much hope that the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, will decide not to press his Amendment this afternoon.


I can well understand why the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, moved these Amendments. No one likes what is, in effect, an executive procedure. It is to the credit of the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, that he has pointed out to us the drawbacks to this situation, and the possible way in which it could be cured. But I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, has put the matter perfectly fairly. Bearing in mind what he said to the Committee about the undertaking of his right honourable friend that there may be cases where legal representation would be possible, I should certainly be disposed to agree with what the Government have said.

When I saw the Amendments put down by the noble Lord, it occurred to me that it is worth bearing in mind the recommendation of over a year ago, of the Committee under the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, that if a detention advisory board had been set up, then appearances in front of that board should not be accompanied by legal representation. As your Lordships will remember, in the event there was no detention advisory board. There were to be single advisers, and, if I remember rightly, there was not to be a legal representation before them. In fact detention was discontinued.

Of course I fully realise that detention and exclusion orders are not at all the same thing. It seems to me that the onus of proof and the matters upon which the Secretary of State has to be satisfied in both procedures were not dissimilar. Unless one casts aside wholly the idea of an executive decision—something which none of us likes—I should have thought that a statutory right to legal representation is inappropriate.

After listening to the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, it appears to me that the Government are being consistent. After all, this would be a statutory right, the very thing which the Home Secretary said in another place he felt he could not agree to. If the adviser were to take the proviso which the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, has inserted in his second Amendment, to say in a certain case that it would not be in the public interest for a legal representative to accompany a person, then it would leave the adviser open to all kinds of conjecture.

We should also remember that here, as the noble Lord, Lord Paget of Northampton, said, we are not considering conviction. We are considering removing someone from a part of the United Kingdom. But this is absolutely essential for the security of the people of this country. If Parliament is in earnest, we must not weaken the Bill, and for those reasons I would not be able to vote for the Amendments which the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, has put down.

5.49 p.m.


First, I wish to answer the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Paget of Northampton. There is certainly no intention on my part to weaken this clause or indeed any other clause in the Bill, which we on these Benches have always supported and, at times, sought to strengthen. I say with respect to the noble Lord that I doubt whether in relation to this clause the matter arises of any interrogation under which a legal adviser might interfere with the due processes of the questioning. The object of Clause 7 is that the person who is the subject of the making of an exclusion order can seek an interview with the adviser. The object is not that anybody should be interrogating him about anything. So I doubt very much whether the presence of a legal adviser or other person would in any way hamper the proceedings, and it might assist the person simply to be able to express his own point of view properly and freely on a matter which otherwise he may not find it easy to understand.


Does the noble Lord suggest that, when this person against whom an order is being made, or has been made, goes before the Commissioner, the Commissioner does not ask him questions on his statement? If he does not ask him questions on his statement, what is the point of having an interview at all?


I stand to be corrected by the noble Lord the Minister, but as I understand the object of this it is not that the adviser should ask the person about to be excluded questions at all: it is so that the adviser can explain the grounds of the exclusion order as fully as he can to the person being interviewed and the person being interviewed can put his own point of view and make his own representations. Although I have never been present at any such meeting, I feel tolerably confident that that is the case.

I have listened to what the noble Lord, Lord Harris, has had to say, and I accept that there is a case that can be made out for saying that it is better left in the realm of practice rather than being written into the Statute. On the intimation by the noble Lord that advisers will of course, and as a matter of routine, consider whether, in appropriate cases, a legal adviser or other person can be present, I believe that this difficulty will be met. In those circumstances I beg leave to withdraw this Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8 agreed to.

Clause 9 [Offences under Part II]:

5.51 p.m.

Lord HARRIS of GREENWICH moved Amendment No. 3:

Page 6, line 11, leave out from beginning to ("shall") in line 33 and insert—

  1. (1) If any person who is subject to an exclusion order fails to comply with the order at a time after he has been, or has become liable to be, removed under section 8 of this Act from Great Britain, Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom, as the case may be, he shall be guilty of an offence.
  2. (2) If any person—
    1. (a) is knowingly concerned in arrangements for securing or facilitating the entry into Great Britain, Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom of, or
    2. (b) in Great Britain. Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom knowingly harbours,
    a person whom he knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, to be a person who is subject to an exclusion order and who has been, or has become liable to be, removed from there under section 8 of this Act, he shall be guilty of an offence.
  3. (3) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) or subsection (2) above,".

The noble Lord said: This Amendment is designed to clarify Clause 9 in two respects. First, the offence of failing to comply with an exclusion order is to arise only after a person has been removed, or has become liable to be removed, under Clause 8, rather than, as at present, at a time after he has been served with notice of the making of an exclusion order. Secondly, the Amendment simplifies and improves the provisions creating offences in relation to harbouring or facilitating the entry of persons subject to exclusion orders. I beg to move.


I am grateful to the noble Lord for this Amendment, which meets particularly a point which was made on Report in another place. The point which was made is met particularly in subsection (1). I thank the noble Lord for this Government Amendment.

Clause 9, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 10 [Contributions towards acts of terrorism]:

Lord HARRIS of GREENWICH moved Amendments Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7:

Page 6, line 41, leave out from beginning to ("shall")in line 7 on page 7 and insert— ("(1) If any person—

  1. (a) solicits or invites any other person to give or lend, whether for consideration or not, any money or other property, or
  2. (b) receives or accepts from any other person, whether for consideration or not, any money or other property,
intending that the money or other property shall be applied or used for or in connection with the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism to which this section applies, he shall be guilty of an offence. ( ) If any person gives, lends or otherwise makes available to any other person, whether for consideration or not, any money or other property, knowing or suspecting that the money or other property will or may be applied or used for or in connection with the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism to which this section applies, he shall be guilty of an offence. ( ) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) or subsection (1A) above,")

Page 7, line 14, leave out ("this section") and insert ("subsection (1) above") Page 7, line 15, after ("property") insert ("(a)") Page 7, line 16, leave out ("intended to") and insert— ("(b) which, at that time, he intended should")

The noble Lord said: Perhaps I can take Amendments Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7 together, with the consent of the Committee. These Amendments constitute a substantial redrafting of subsection (1) of the new clause, which deals with contributions to acts of terrorism, and contain minor adjustments to the remainder of the clause. The Amendments also bring within the scope of the clause the case where money is raised, not by way of a gift but by way of a bogus sale.

There was some criticism of the drafting of the clause, on stylistic grounds, in another place, and these Amendments reflect the Government's response to these criticisms and attempt to clarify the sense of the clause in general. We believe that the amended version is a significant improvement on the clause as at present drafted. The change of substance we have made is to include within the scope of the clause money raised, not by way of a gift but by way of a bogus sale; for example, by a raffle. We believe that an Amendment to this effect should be made so that there is no possibility of a technical escape on these grounds. The second Amendment is consequential on the first, and the third and fourth Amendments are entirely drafting. I beg to move Amendments Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 11 [Information about acts of terrorism]:

Lord HARRIS of GREENWICH moved Amendments Nos. 8, 9 and 10:

Page 7, line 22, leave out ("knows or believes that he")

Page 7, line 23, after ("which") insert ("he knows or believes")

Page 7, line 31, leave out ("to a constable or") and insert— ("(i) in England and Wales, to a constable, or (ii)")

The noble Lord said: Perhaps I could move Amendments Nos. 8, 9 and 10 together, and also speak to Amendments Nos. 12 and 13. These Amendments are designed to do two things. First, they clarify the drafting of the clause and, we hope, will meet some of the criticisms of drafting which were expressed in another place. Secondly, they introduce a provision in relation to Northern Ireland by which a person can avoid committing an offence by disclosing information within the scope of the clause if he discloses it to a member of the Armed Forces instead of to a constable; that is, the saving will apply in the case of both the police and the Army. This point was indeed raised by a number of honourable friends of the noble Lord on the Opposition Front Bench. Subsection (1) of the clause has been redrafted so that the position of the words "knows or believes" is altered in accordance with criticism of the present drafting. We accept that the new structure is clearer and perhaps more logical than that of the existing clause.

We have certainly taken note of the point, which has been made on several occasions, that the requirement to disclose information only to a constable may be too restrictive, particularly in relation to the very special situation which obtains in Northern Ireland. We have therefore decided that a logical and desirable extension of the clause, in view of the particular conditions prevailing in Northern Ireland, would be to provide that, in Northern Ireland, information may also be disclosed to a member of Her Majesty's Forces. However, we think it impracticable to go any wider than this in the list of those to whom the information may be passed. We have looked closely at the terms of this clause in accordance with the undertaking given by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary at Report stage in another place. These Amendments are the result of that consideration, and represent all that we can suggest to clarify and limit this clause without destroying its basic purpose. I beg to move Amendments Nos. 8, 9 and 10.


I should tell the Committee that, if Amendment No. 10 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 11.


May I first thank, the noble Lord for Amendments Nos. 8 and 9, which, as he quite rightly said, meet points which were made about the drafting of this in another place. Amidst Amendments Nos. 10 and 12,which is not yet moved, there is inserted Amendment No. 11, which is in the names of my noble friend Lady Elles and myself. If, with the agreement of your Lordships' Committee, I may refer to that, the Amendment was put down to relieve a person who is in possession of information about terrorism from having to disclose that information specifically to a constable and to no one else.

The problem is that Part III of the Bill relates to Northern Ireland as well as to Great Britain, and I think there is no question but that the duty to disclose terrorist information to a constable, and to a constable alone, in Northern Ireland does not take sufficient account of the difficulties of life in that country. There are people in Ulster who, totally misguidedly, would be resistant to contacting the police even though they felt very strongly concerning a piece of information which had fallen into their hands.

On the other hand, there are those who would be eager to divulge their information to a constable but who would fail to use even the confidential telephone which has been a successful feature of Northern Ireland security. In devastated parts of Belfast a public telephone must be a rarity. Most people are not on the 'phone. This would entail someone going out to use a neighbour's telephone with the consequent risk of being overheard and all that that in the circumstances might entail.

The aim of my noble friend and myself was purely to probe the Government's thinking which is now revealed by the Government Amendment No. 12 which, although strictly not yet moved, provides for information to be disclosed not only to a constable but also to a member of Her Majesty's Forces. The Government Amendment certainly broadens the scope of the provision by including the Army which can, after all, be fairly readily contacted and which would treat the identity of an informant with secrecy in the same way as would the police. I think it might be argued that at the very least a Northern Ireland Member of Parliament or a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly ought to be included in this clause as a recipient of information; but until the Northern Ireland constitutional position is decided, it would be premature to select the small number of Northern Irish Westminster MPs to incur the danger of being statutorily listed as recipients of terrorist information.

On the other hand, I wonder whether the Government may have considered adding the words, "or to any other person in authority" to the list of those statutorily provided for to receive information under this clause. That suggestion would presumably include the Judiciary, the Civil Service and local people in local government. The noble Lord may take the view that this would be spreading the net too wide and would place a wide range of potential recipients of information in danger. I would simply ask whether the Government have considered this suggestion and, if not, whether they would do so before the next stage of the Bill. With that proviso, I should like to thank the Government for recognising the problem which the clause presented as originally drafted. At this stage I would certainly support all the Government Amendments.


I might say now rather than on the Motion, Whether the clause shall stand part of the Bill, that I remain of the view that it is in some way an unrealistic extension of the criminal law to make it a criminal offence for a housewife in the Falls Road area, perhaps with young children, to fail to disclose information that may come to her about some terrorist activity being planned by her next-door neighbour. This seems to me to lead to a situation where a criminal law is beginning to lose touch with reality.

I would ask only two questions about the Amendments proposed. They arise out of the use of the confidential line, of which there is public knowledge. The first is this. Is it correct (as I am told it is) that civilian employees frequently answer the confidential line service? If it is correct, one might run into some difficulties with the words proposed by the Government in Amendment 12 as to a" constable or a member of Her Majesty's Forces". That might add weight to what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, about a "person in authority being informed. Secondly, I should like to ask whether it is correct that no record is kept of the caller's name and address and of the contents of the call when a call is made on the confidential line.

I ask this because if that is so—and one can understand why there are reasons that it should be the position—it would make the proving of the defence to the criminal offence now being suggested almost impossible. It might make the proving of the offence equally impossible if a person said, "I did put a call through" and there is no evidence one way or another to substantiate it. This might give rise to difficulties.


I am grateful for what the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, has said. I will look at the point that he made. However, I have rather an ugly suspicion at this stage that the use of the phrase "person in authority" is rather imprecise when ones comes to define a criminal offence. It would not be difficult, indeed it might be arguably easy, to set up a defence by saying: "I had in fact reported it to a person in authority"; for one might be surprised at the difficulty there would be in finding out who the person in authority might be. I think it is necessary to have precise language in a clause of this sort which, as the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, said, moves into new territory. As I have indicated, I am grateful for what he said. We have tried to meet the points raised by his honourable friends and noble friends.

In answer to the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder. I should like to look into the first point he raised. So far as the second point is concerned—that relating to the confidential telephone, whether some form of record is kept, and how one would establish that one had made a call —the answer is that a record is kept of all calls, Therefore, if somebody said, "I telephoned at 5.25 that afternoon", then he did or he did not. There is a record kept to demonstrate the truth or falsehood of that defence.


I beg to move Amendments Nos. 12 and 13.

Amendments moved—

Page 7, line 32, leave out ("he") and insert ("or

(iii) in Northern Ireland, to a constable or a member of Her Majesty's forces,

he shall be guilty of an offence.

( ) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) above.")

Page 7, line 41, after ("believed") insert ("that the information might be of material assistance").—(Lord Harris of Greenwich.)

Clause 11, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 12 [Powers of arrest and detention]:

On Question, Whether Clause 12 shall stand part of the Bill?

6.8 p.m.


Where the situation is that a person may be detained in custody in a police station for some seven days and there may have been a particularly horrible and appalling crime committed and emotion may be running high in the police station, there are two difficulties. One is the danger that possibly some police officer might be tempted to exceed his proper authority. I am not suggesting for one moment that that happens as a matter of routine, but one can understand the temptation. The other situation that arises is that where a man is held in custody for seven days or so, if he is charged and tried, it is almost inevitable that there will be allegations made of ill-treatment while he was kept in custody. I am not suggesting that those allegations are by any means invariably justified or likely to be justified. The only matter I should like to raise at this stage is that, aware of that situation as the Government no doubt are, would the noble Lord, Lord Harris, agree that in a situation where there is a detention order made it is of even more importance than in the ordinary criminal situation, that the Judges' Rules should be strictly complied with? Would the Government agree that it is worth while reminding the police force of the extreme importance of complying strictly with the Rules in the situation where a person is under long detention?


I am grateful to the noble Lord. As he said, he was making no suggestion that there was any impropriety. He is endeavouring to protect the police from allegations that there has been impropriety. Certainly, it will be our intention once the Bill is enacted to give advice to the police on the way in which they should proceed in implementing it. That point will be taken into account as it was when the 1974 Act was enacted.

Clause 12 agreed to.

Remaining clauses and Schedules agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with the Amendments.