HL Deb 01 July 1981 vol 422 cc260-1

17 Schedule 1, page 11, line 25, at end insert— ("10A. Criminal proceedings against a person which become active on the issue or grant of a warrant for his arrest cease to be active at the end of the period of twelve months beginning with the date of the warrant unless he has been arrested within that period, but become active again if he is subsequently arrested.").

Lord Mackay of Clashfern

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 17. In connection with the provision in the Bill whereby strict liability in relation to criminal proceedings starts when an arrest warrant is issued, it has often been said that this would cause difficulty in the type of case where a wanted man eludes capture, and perhaps even disappears, for a long period. It was a point referred to by the Phillimore Committee as a drawback to that starting point.

The Government agreed in another place that this difficulty should be met if possible and accordingly my right honourable and learned friend the Attorney-General moved this amendment. It is a new paragraph for Schedule 1 and imposes a time limit for the operation of the rule of twelve months from the date of issue of the arrest warrant. If the man is not arrested in that time, strict liability ceases, but would start again if he were subsequently arrested. The 12-month period has been chosen because that is the time after which the likelihood of an early arrest significantly diminishes.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said amendment.—(Lord Mackay of Clashfern.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.