§ .—(1) Where a loss is incurred by a person (hereinafter in this Part referred to as the "victim") and where that loss is occasioned in the circumstances described in subsection (2) below, compensation for that loss shall be payable by the Secretary of State to the victim or, in the event of the victim's death in a case where his death is caused by or is substantially due to those injuries, to any dependant of the victim.
§ (2) The circumstances referred to in subsection (1) above are those in which a victim has, after the passing of this Act, sustained in Great Britain or on a British vessel, aircraft or hovercraft an injury which is directly attributable to the actions of another (hereinafter in this Part referred to as the "male factor") where those actions constitute an act of violence.
§ (3) No compensation shall be paid by the Secretary of State unless a claim to that effect has been made and determined in accordance with the provisions of this Part.
§ (4) In this section—
- (a) in subsection (1) above, the expression "loss" means any one or more of the following losses, that is to say, a pecuniary loss or a personal loss caused by bodily or mental injuries.
- (b) in subsection (2) above, the expression "an act of violence" means any unlawful act committed by a malefactor in circumstances in which a reasonable man would have expected that the victim would or might suffer death or sustain personal injuries and that expression includes
438 an act committed by a malefactor when he or another was resisting lawful arrest or attempted arrest by the victim or attempted arrest by a constable who was being assisted by the victim but does not include an act committed by a person while driving or using a vehicle unless he thereby intended to inflict death or personal injury on his victim.").
§ The noble Earl said. Your Lordships' Committee may be a little apprehensive, particularly at 10 o'clock, when it observes that I have my name attached to 17 amendments. However, I can assure the Committee that I shall be able to dispose of them for the evening quite briefly, but I am bound to come back to the subject in question at the next stage of the Bill, if only because an impressive speech on victims of violence was made by a Member of another place in introducing a Bill on this very subject last night. However, sufficient unto the day.
§ In a major Bill concerned with criminal justice, with 61 clauses and 16 schedules, it would be lamentable, would it not? if the victims of violence who by common consent have been so shamefully neglected hitherto were totally ignored. There is admittedly one clause, Clause 50, which should be of help to victims, but that by itself is an altogether insufficient degree of attention.
§ Three years ago I introduced into your Lordships' House a Bill which received a Second Reading and passed through its Committee stage. Later I withdrew it, with the accompanying promise that, like General MacArthur, I would be returning in due course. At that time I felt able to use words which perhaps were more significant coming from someone who had served for well over 30 years on the Labour Benches than they would have been had they come from a Government spokesman, in which case they might have been thought to be just flannel. At that time, I said that we had a Government who, whatever their merits or demerits—I am bound to say that it has all become more obvious since; but that was three years ago— had actually shown interest in victims. Well, that was true then, but I have been disappointed that this major Bill on criminal justice should ignore the victims almost totally
§ However, there is one defence which the Minister might bring forward to some purpose. The Home Office Minister in 1979, the late, lamented Lord Belstead—
§ The Earl of Longford
I meant that he was lamented in regard to that particular capacity. Of course I applaud him in his new role. At any rate, we all know our revered friend Lord Belstead; we all know whom I am talking about. At that time the Home Office Minister generously assured me that our Bill had accelerated the Government's initiative. Well, that was a rare compliment from a Minister, at any rate in my experience. In his closing speech at that time, when I withdrew my Bill, the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, said that there was a great deal in my draft which would be of assistance to the Government when the 439 proposed Bill on the subject was presented. I draw attention to his words about the proposed Bill on the subject being presented.
The first question that I put to the Minister—I have given him some slight notice of it—is, obviously, when, if at all, are the Government to introduce a comprehensive Bill to deal with victims? Obviously our attitude to my amendment, or any amendment that we might move at the next stage, is considerably dependent on the answer to that question.
The amendments which are down in my name are a recapitulation of my Bill of 1979. I do not intend to press the amendments to a Division this evening; nor am I suggesting that my 1979 Bill could not have been improved then and could not be improved, or expanded, still more today. After discussions with the Table, I put forward my amendments in such a way as to enable us to have a general discussion this evening. In the event, the lateness of the hour perhaps makes that not very appropriate. But this way of doing things should leave it open to myself and to the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon—who has been kind enough to attach his name to the amendment, and who is very expert on the subject—or any other noble Lord, at the next stage to table suitable amendments on the subject of victims.
I am not going into detail this evening. No one in 1979 questioned the appalling neglect of victims up to that point. It cannot seriously be claimed that the position is substantially different in 1982, in spite of a few administrative improvements and some creditable progress in the voluntary sector.
I said in 1979 that my Bill was in no possible sense a full charter for victims. I am anxious to obtain the the full attention of the noble Lord, although I know he can listen to two speakers at once. However, I venture to repeat myself—unless there is going to be a further intervention from behind him. I said in 1979 that my Bill was in no possible sense a full charter for victims. I mentioned a whole range of matters on which we would certainly press the Government as opportunity offered. We demanded and we do demand far-reaching improvements in the compensation scheme. It must be made more generous, more comprehensive and more accessible, and it should be much better publicised.
We shall continue to urge—this is a new point that I want to press on the noble Lord; he may have something to say about it tonight—that the present criminal injuries compensation scheme should be placed on a statutory basis. As noble Lords are aware, at present it is called an ex gratia scheme. Also, we may well make suggestions at the next stage for greatly improving the machinery in the Law Courts, and also for extending assistance to victim-support schemes. Some of those points, incidentally, are dealt with in the important Bill which was introduced yesterday in another place.
I hope the Committee will feel that I have tonight adopted a procedure—speaking, I notice, for seven minutes, which may not be absurdly long—which facilitates the widest possible debate, which is not likely to take place this evening, but I cannot believe that there is anybody here who is happy about the way we have treated victims, and continue to treat them. I hope that before we reach the next stage the Minister 440 will be able to give us some encouragement this evening.
§ Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge
I am very happy to support the noble Earl in the shortest possible way, by saying that if there are any objections to what he has moved I shall assist him in refuting them.
§ Lord Elton
Under those terms, I advance upon the field with trepidation. Before I comment on the noble Earl's amendment, I think I should outline what is the system we have at present and what the noble Earl seeks to change. Since 1964 Great Britain has had a non-statutory scheme—the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, which he referred to and suggested should be in statutory form—which provides compensation by the state for those who suffer personal injury as a result of crimes of violence or in attempting to apprehend offenders. Where the victim dies, the scheme provides for the compensation to go to the dependants. The scheme applies to both England and Wales and to Scotland; Northern Ireland has its own.
The scheme has on the whole worked very well, and other countries have used it as a model for their own. Since it was introduced, about 200,000 awards have been made and well over £100 million has been paid out in compensation. Those are large figures. In the late 1970s the scheme was the subject of a thorough review. It was undertaken by an inter-departmental working party whose remit was to frame proposals for placing the scheme on a statutory footing with such modifications as might appear desirable. This working party reported, as the noble Earl will well recall, in 1978.
In July 1979, the Government published the terms of a revised criminal injuries compensation scheme based on the working party's recommendations, and announced that this would come into operation from 1st October 1979. At the same time the Government announced that they accepted the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Civil Liability and Compensation for Personal Injury—that is, the Pearson Commission—that the scheme should be made statutory, but that they did not intend to introduce the relevant legislation until there had been sufficient experience of the revised scheme to enable any problems to be identified and solved.
No very major problems have arisen in the operation of the revised scheme over the past 2½ years although there are inevitably a number of points of detail which need looking into. It remains the Government's intention to prepare legislation to place the scheme on a statutory footing, but it is absolutely clear that legislation is not going to be an easy exercise. I might remind the noble Earl that he did table substantially the same material earlier in the Session, in July 1980, and it was the subject of fairly close criticism then. He referred only to the conclusion, but he will recall that it did become apparent that almost every clause needed adjustment of one kind or another. Doubtless between this stage and Report he will take on board the analysis then made, because it does not actually appear to be reflected in what he has now put forward, and that is another reason why we are taking this as an occasion to debate the main issues rather than the technicalities.
441 The subject revolves around difficult issues of civil law. It does not have bearing on the matters otherwise addressed in this Bill which relate broadly to the powers available to criminal courts. The scheme is a complex document which reflects—I am now referring to the Criminal Injuries Scheme which exists —civil law principles, some of which if made statutory would require very careful drafting. The preparation of the necessary legislation would therefore have to be undertaken with the greatest care. It will need to take account of our experience with the 1979 scheme and legislation currently in the pipeline. There would need to be close consultation with members of the board and other interested bodies. We do not in any case regard the need for legislation on this subject as a matter of immediate, overriding urgency. That is the phrase which the noble Lord might not like to hear but it is the phrase that he was hoping to elicit. He might have hoped it was elicited in different terms. This legislation would no doubt formalise the arrangements that have been developed since 1964 and put them on a permanent footing but it really cannot be argued that it would make much difference in practice to the victims concerned. That must be the acid test.
The scheme is administered by an independent board of very experienced barristers and eminent solicitors whose duty is to consider applications and award compensation in accordance with the terms of the scheme and the practice of the civil courts. The board reach their decisions and award compensation on their own authority, and their directions are not subject to ministerial review. The Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Scotland have responsibility for general oversight of the scheme and the board's operations but they play no part in the resolution of individual applications. The board's functions under the terms of the scheme require them to award appropriate compensation to all who are eligible under the provisions of the scheme. In practice, therefore, a right to compensation already exists, as compensation cannot be refused by the board outside the terms of the scheme.
In the Government's view, the main argument for placing the scheme on a statutory footing is not to provide victims with a formal statutory right but to provide explicit statutory authority for the existence and operations of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board in view of the considerable amount of public money for which the board are responsible. In 1980 to 1981 they paid out nearly £21½ billion in compensation and incurred administration costs amounting to nearly £3 million. It is right that Parliament should have the opportunity to consider in detail general composition functions and procedures of the board in which it places so much trust and responsibility and then to approve them in formal legislation.
The Government intend to give Parliament that opportunity as soon as practicable in the light of other demands on parliamentary time and the work that will be needed to prepare this legislation; but your Lordships will see that this is a very wide scheme deploying very large resources, in which there can be no political intervention or discrimination and, therefore, although the noble Lord is not promised the legislation in the sort of time scale that I dare say he is pressing for, 442 he can remain confident that it is not our intention to do anything contrary to his own intention.
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ Lord Elwyn-Jones
I should like to compliment my noble friend Lord Longford on raising this important matter. It is in keeping with his own attitude to penal policy that not only is he the constant protector of those who are subjected to the sanctions of the penal law within the proper limits of such protection and care but, as he has indicated—and not for the first time tonight—he is concerned for the welfare, protection and provision for the victims of crime.
I am sorry that my noble friend Lord Mishcon is temporarily absent from the Chamber, as I was looking forward to his considerable expert knowledge upon this subject. It is gratifying to learn from my noble friend that this is a ballon d'essai, a trial run, tonight of this issue, and that he proposes to return to it again at the later stages of this Bill. The statement of the Minister is an indication of the importance that the Government attach to this whole problem. The more the Minister was developing the magnitude of what is now being done by this non-statutory body operating purely in terms of ex gratia payments, the clearer it seemed the need for the scheme to be put on a statutory basis. I detected that that was broadly the view of the Government as well. Indeed, previous Administrations have been thinking of this ever since the happy day when a previous Labour Administration set the scheme up in 1969.
We have had now 13 years' experience of the operation of the scheme. I agree that it has come to the rescue in this enormous number of cases and has helped people who would otherwise face the disaster of death to a parent or person upon whom they were dependent or grievous injuries to those who suffer from the negligence of others.
In view of the lateness of the hour, I think that it may be appropriate to deal with this, so to speak, as a warning shot across the bows which my noble friend has directed in the direction of the Government, and we look forward to detailed and profound discussion of this very important problem at a later stage.
§ Lord Elton
I should like to add something at this stage rather than intervene in the noble Earl's reply, because no doubt I should be in danger of trespassing upon his peroration. The Government do not consider that a Criminal Justice Bill such as the one now before the Committee should deal with the question of state compensation for criminal injuries. The noble Earl's proposals are not directly concerned with the powers and procedures of the criminal courts nor with the treatment of offenders. They are much more closely related to matters of civil law. The state compensation arrangements are a substitute for civil court proceedings, and they follow civil law practice. I am afraid that I have to say that, in the view of the Government, this block of amendments is out of place in the present Bill and their tabling at this relatively late stage leaves in any case not a lot of time to give adequate parliamentary scrutiny to them.
Perhaps the noble Earl will consider taking some 443 other parliamentary opportunity to give this matter the close scrutiny that it needs, without inserting it into the time available for the rest of the stages of this Bill. This would have to be discussed through the usual channels, and I am not a usual channel. It seems to me appropriate that this should be done at a rather more leisurely pace; but, since we are under the strictures of time between now and the end of the Session, it might be for the noble Earl's own convenience and advantage if it were pursued in some other way. I throw that idea out as a friendly one which he may want to consider between now and Report stage. I thought it appropriate to say what is our attitude to these amendments and that we should feel rather reluctant to devote a great deal of time to considering them at a later stage in this Bill.
§ The Earl of Longford
I am very grateful to those who have supported me—the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, and my own acting leader, my noble and learned friend Lord Elwyn-Jones. I am profoundly disappointed with the reply of the Minister, because he has given us no indication that in the lifetime of some of us who are older Members, this Bill will ever come forward. We were told in 1979 that my Bill would be helpful to the Government's proposals. There is really no indication tonight that that Bill is any nearer than it was in 1979. Therefore, my attitude is one of great disappointment. Naturally I will consider, with the help of my leaders, what our attitude should be at the next stage, but I shall be surprised if he does not have more trouble at that time than he has had tonight. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ [Amendments Nos. 102 to 116 not moved.]
§ Clause 44 agreed to.
§ Clause 45 [Revision of penalties for summary offences and of certain other sums]:
§ Lord Trefgarne moved Amendments Nos. 117 to 119:
§ Page 44, line 9, leave out ("(2),") and insert ("(1 A) to").
Page 44, line 22, at end insert—
("(1A) Where the penalty or maximum penalty for an offence to which section 457A(1)(b) of this Act applies has not been altered by any enactment passed or made after 29th July 1977 (the date of the passing of the Criminal Law Act 1977), this section applies as if the amount referred to in subsection (4)(a) below were the greatest amount to which a person would have been liable on any conviction immediately before that date.").
§ Page 45, line 20, leave out ("(2)") and insert ("(1 A)")
§ The noble Lord said: On behalf of my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Clashfern, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 117 to 119 inclusive, and to speak at the same time to Amendments 123, 124, 136, 180, 181, 184 and 189. These amendments are designed to clarify the effect of the provisions of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975 and the current Bill on the penalties for offences in respect of which there is no express provision regarding mode of trial. They do this primarily by making express provision as 444 to the mode of trial for all offences under primary legislation. I beg to move.
§ On Question, amendments agreed to.
§ Lord Trefgarne moved Amendments Nos. 120 and 121:
§ Page 45, line 25, leave out from (''fine") to end of line 26 and insert ("or a maximum fine which is").
§ Page 45, line 32, leave out from ("fine") to ("amount") in line 34 and insert ("which is less than £1,000, or a fine, or a maximum fine which shall not exceed an").
§ The noble Lord said: Again, on behalf of my noble and learned friend, I beg to move Amendments 120 and 121 together. I should like to speak at the same time to Amendments Nos. 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134 and 135. I think I have covered Amendments 125 to 135 en bloc. I now formally move Amendments Nos. 120 and 121 together, with the same points that I put on the previous ones.
§ On Question, amendments agreed to.
Lord Trefgarne moved Amendment No. 122:
Page 46, line 1, leave out ("in any Act passed") and insert ("passed or made").
§ The noble Lord said: Subsection (l)(iv) of the proposed new Section 289F is designed to exclude from the scope of the general up-rating of fines provided for in Section 289F, fines which have been altered between the passing of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and the passing of this Bill. The reason for this exclusion is that any such alternation should have been designed to put the fine in question on to the appropriate point on the 5-point scale and it would be wrong to further increase such fines.
§ As drafted, however, subsection (l)(iv) only excludes from the general uprating fines which have been altered since 1977 by an enactment contained in an Act. This amendment extends that exclusion to cover fines which have been altered since 1977 by enactments contained in subordinate legislation. I beg to move.
§ On Question, amendment agreed to.
§ Lord Trefgarne moved Amendment No. 123:
Page 46, line 3, at end insert—
("(1A) In the case of an offence to which section 457A(1)(6) of this Act applies, paragraphs (i) to (iii) of subsection (1) above do not apply and the fine or the maximum fine referred to in subsection (7) below is the fine or the maximum fine for the offence immediately before 29th July 1977 as amended, where applicable, by section 289E of this Act.").
§ The noble Lord said: This is consequential and I beg to move.
§ On Question, amendment agreed to.
Lord Trefgarne moved Amendment No. 124:
Page 46, line 11, after ("above") insert ("as amended by subsection (1A) above where it applies").
§ The noble Lord said: This amendment is consequential. I beg to move.
§ On Question, amendment agreed to.445
§ Lord Trefgarne moved Amendments Nos. 125 to 135:
§ Page 46, line 17, leave out from second ("fine") to ("in") inline 19.
§ Page 46, line 20, leave out from ("things,") to end of line 23 and insert ("that fine or maximum fine is the fine, or as the case may be, the maximum fine for the purposes of this section.")
§ Page 46, line 25, leave out ("specifies") and insert ("provides").
§ Page 46, line 35, leave out from ("case") to ("is") in line 36 and insert ("the fine or the maximum fine referred to in subsection (7) below').
§ Page 46, line 43, leave out from ("fine") to ("for") in line 1 on page 47.
§ Page 47, line 19, leave out ("specified amount") and insert ("fine or the maximum fine").
§ Page 47, line 22, column 1, leave out ("The specified amount") and insert ("Fine or maximum fine").
Page 48, leave out lines 9 to 25 and insert—
("(4) Subject to subsection (7) below, where—
§ Page 48, line 28, leave out from second ("fine") to ("in") in line 30.
§ Page 48, line 31, leave out from ("things") to end of line 34 and insert ("that fine or maximum fine is the fine or, as the case may be, the maximum fine for the purposes of this section.").
§ Page 48, line 42, leave out from ("fine") to ("for") in line 44.
§ The noble Lord said: With your Lordships' permission, I should like to move Amendments Nos. 125 to 135 en bloc. They are consequential on an earlier amendment. I beg to move.
§ On Question, amendments agreed to.
§ Clause 45, as amended, agreed to.
Lord Trefgarne moved Amendment No. 136:
After Clause 45, insert the following new clause:
§ (" Mode of trial of, and penalties for, certain offences.)
.—(1) In Part III of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975, before section 458 there shall be inserted the following new section—
Mode of trial of certain offences.
457A.—(1) An offence created by statute shall be triable only summarily if —
(2) An offence created by statute which is triable only on indictment shall continue only to be so triable.
(3) An offence created by statute shall be triable either on indictment or summarily if—
(4) An offence which may under any enactment (including an enactment in this Act or passed after this Act) be tried only summarily, being an offence which, if it had been triable on indictment, could competently have been libelled as an additional or alternative charge in the indictment, may (the pro visions of this or any other enactment notwith standing) be so libelled, and tried accordingly: Pro vided that the penalty which may be imposed for that offence in that case shall not exceed that which is competent on summary conviction.".
(2) For section 289B of the said Act of 1975 there shall be substituted the following section—
Penalties on summary conviction for offences triable either summarily or on indictment.
289B.—(1) Where an offence created by a relevant enactment may be tried either on indictment or summarily, the penalty or maximum penalty on summary conviction shall, to the extent that it included, immediately before the passing of the Criminal Justice Act 1982, a penalty or maximum penalty mentioned in column 1 of the Table below, be amended so as to substitute as a maximum penalty the corresponding penalty set forth in column 2 thereof (unless provision is expressly made by any enactment for a larger penalty or maximum penalty on summary conviction)—
|Column 1||Column 2|
|Penalty or maximum penalty at passing of Criminal Justice Act 1982||New maximum penalty|
|1.Fine (other than a fine specified in paragraph 3 below, or a fine in respect of each period of a specified length during which a continuing offence is committed).||1.Fine not exceeding the prescribed sum.|
|2. Imprisonment for a period exceeding 3 months.||2. Imprisonment for a period not exceeding 3 months.|
|3. Fine in respect of a specified quantity or number of things.||3. Fine not exceeding the pre-scribed sum in respect of each such quantity or number.|
|4. Fine exceeding £ 100 in respect of each period of a specified length during a continuing offence is committed.||4. Fine not exceeding £ 100 in respect of each period of each such period,|
§ (2) Where, by virtue of a relevant enactment, a person summarily convicted of any offence to which subsection (1) above relates would, apart from this section, be liable to a fine or a maximum fine of one amount in the case of a first conviction and of a different amount in the case of a second or sub sequent conviction, subsection (1) above shall apply irrespective of whether the conviction is a first, second or subsequent one.
§ (3) Where, as regards any offence to which sub section (1) above relates, there is under any enactment (in whatever words) a power by subordinate 447 istrument to restrict the amount of the fine or maximum fine which on summary conviction can be imposed in respect of that offence—
- (a) subsection (1) above shall not affect that power or override any restriction imposed in exercise of that power; and
- (b) the amount to which that fine or maximum fine may be restricted in exercise of that power shall be any amount less than the fine or maximum fine which could be imposed on summary conviction in respect of the offence apart from any restriction so imposed.
§ (4) Where there is under a relevant enactment (in whatever words) a power by subordinate instrument to create a criminal offence, the maximum fine which may in the exercise of that power be authorized on summary conviction in respect of such an offence, when that offence may be tried either on indictment or summarily, shall by virtue of this subsection be the prescribed sum unless some larger maximum fine can be authorised on summary conviction in respect of such an offence by virtue of an enactment other than this subsection.
§ (5) Subsection (1) above is without prejudice to section 290 of this Act (6 months' imprisonment competent for certain offences).
§ (6) In this section—
- ' the prescribed sum' means £ 1,000 or such sum as is for the time being substituted in this definition by an order in force under section 289D(l)of this Act;
- ' relevant enactment' means an enactment contained in the Criminal Law Act 1977 or in any Act (including this Act) passed before, or in the same session as, that Act.
§ (7) Subsection (4) above shall not affect so much of any enactment as (in whatever words) provides for a person to be made liable, on summary conviction, to a fine or a maximum fine for each period of a specified length during which a continuing offence is committed.
§ (8) Where an enactment to which subsection (4) above applies provides for a person to be made liable to a penalty or maximum penalty on summary conviction of an offence triable either on indictment or summarily which includes a fine or a maximum fine in respect of a specified quantity or a specified number of things, that subsection shall apply to that fine or maximum fine.
§ (9) Schedule 7B to this Act shall have effect for the purpose of altering the penalties or maximum penalties available on summary conviction of the offences therein mentioned; and subsection (1) above shall not apply on summary conviction of any of the offences mentioned in paragraph 1(2) of the said Schedule 7B.".
(3) Section 289C of the said Act of 1975 (increase of fines for certain summary offences) shall be amended as follows—
(a) for subsection (4) there shall be substituted the following subsection—
(b) for subsection (7) there shall be substituted the following subsections—
§ (4) In section 289D of the said Act of 1975 (power to alter sums specified in certain provisions), after the word "the" at the beginning of each of paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (3) there shall be inserted the words "fine or".
§ (5) Subsections (2) to (4) above do not apply in relation to any offence committed before they come into force.").
§ The noble Lord said: This amendment is consequential on No. 117. I beg to move.
§ On Question, amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 46 agreed to.
§ [Amendment No. 137 not moved.]
§ Schedule 7 [Schedule to be inserted as Schedule 7D to Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975]:
§ Baroness David moved Amendment No. 137A:
§ Page 66, line 32, at end insert—
|("PROTECTION OF ANIMALS (SCOTLAND) ACT 1912 (c. 14)|
|. Section 7 selling poison-ed grain or placing on any land matter rendered poisonous).||For "ten pounds" substitute "level 4 scale".||£25||£500.")|
§ The noble Baroness said: I speak for my noble friend Lord Melchett. He told me that he spoke to this amendment earlier and I understand that it was expected to be accepted. I beg to move.
§ On Question, amendment agreed to.
Lord Trefgarne moved Amendment No. 138:
Page 68, leave out lines 6 to 22.
§ The noble Lord said: I beg to move this amendment on behalf of my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay. This amendment deletes certain unnecessary provisions in Schedule 7. I beg to move.
§ On Question, amendment agreed to.
§ Lord Trefgarne moved Amendment No. 139:
§ Page 68, line 32, at end insert—
|" AGRICULTURE AND HORTICULTURE ACT 1964(c,28)|
|. Section 20(1) (obstruction, etc. of authorized officer).||For "twenty pounds" substitute "level 3 on the standard scale".||£20.||£200.|
|. Section 20(2) (offences under Part III)||For the words from "one hundred pounds" to "two hundred and fifty pounds)" substitute "level 5 on the standard scale".||(a) for a first offence, £100 or 3 months or both: (b) for a second or subsequent offence, £250 or 3 months or both.||£1,000 or 3 months or both.|
§ The noble Lord said: As well as amending penalties in purely Scottish legislation, Schedule 7 effects for Scotland amendments to penalties in Great Britain or 449 United Kingdom Acts which are effected for England and Wales by Schedule 3. As a result of Amendment No. 81, Schedule 3 effects for England and Wales increases in the penalties for certain offences under the Agriculture and Horticulture Act 1964. This amendment is designed to effect similar increases for Scotland. I beg to move.
§ On Question, amendment agreed to.
§ Schedule 7, as amended, agreed to.
§ Schedule 8 agreed to.
§ 10.30 p.m.
Baroness David moved Amendment No. 140:
Before Clause 47, insert the following new clause:
§ ("Courts not to pass first custodial sentence on an offender without first considering a social enquiry report.
§ First custodial sentences
§ .A court shall not
- (a) pass a sentence of imprisonment, or
- (b) make a detention centre order, or
- (c) pass a youth custody sentence
§ The noble Baroness said: This is an all-party Penal Affairs Group amendment, and all it is asking for is that the good practice which is followed in most courts should be made an essential part by making it law in this Bill. The Government have gone a good way towards accepting the principle, because in their amendment after Clause 1 they have made it necessary for a social inquiry report to be presented for defendants under the age of 21, before they are given a custodial sentence, except in certain special circumstances.
§ Although Section 57 of the Criminal Justice Act 1948 empowered the Home Secretary to make rules requiring courts to consider a social inquiry report before imposing a prison sentence on an offender who has not served a previous custodial sentence, no such rules have ever been made. The Home Office has chosen to recommend this practice to the courts, rather than incorporate it in statutory rules. The Home Office has recommended courts as normal practice to consider a social inquiry report before imposing a borstal or detention centre sentence, and before imposing a prison sentence on an offender who has not received a previous prison or borstal sentence.
§ However, information collected on a sample of offenders sentenced in 1971 shows that magistrates neglected to obtain a social inquiry report on the majority of men receiving their first prison sentence. This suggests that at that time the Home Secretary's advice on this point had gone unheeded. If this amendment were followed, it might be that a good many people would avoid a custodial sentence. Ministers in the present Government have repeatedly stated their wish to reverse the recent decline in the use of the probation order and to see probation used to the full as an alternative to custody. The consideration of social inquiry reports in all cases where the offender is at risk of custody for the first time would be one important way to ensure that the suitability 450 or otherwise of offenders for probation orders is brought to the court's attention on every such occasion. I could say a great deal more, but I think I have said enough to justify the amendment. I beg to move.
§ Lord Trefgarne
I find myself in an unusual position for a Government spokesman in this Parliament; namely, in agreement with an amendment to which the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, has attached his name. As the noble Lord suggests, there may not have been many previous occasions upon which that was so. The Government accept this amendment in principle. I therefore propose that the Government should bring forward an amendment on Report to deal specifically with the provision of social inquiry reports in the case of adult offenders who have not previously served a sentence of imprisonment. Like this amendment, it will retain discretion for the court to dispense with a report where one is manifestly unnecessary. On that understanding, I hope the noble Baroness will not press the amendment.
§ Baroness David
I thank the Minister very much. I am absolutely delighted, though not altogether surprised, and of course will withdraw my amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ [Amendment No. 140A not moved.]
§ On Question, Whether Clause 47 shall stand part of the Bill?
§ Lord Denham
If the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, wishes to speak on clause stand part, I shall of course make my important announcement now.
§ Lord Elwyn-Jones
My understanding was that the Chair had called clause stand part. I propose, at the appropriate time, to move to leave out Clause 47. I do not know how the matter is best put.
§ Lord Denham
I think we do not address ourselves to this question tonight because it might provoke a certain amount of comment, of the friendliest possible kind, tomorrow. We have now reached the stage where I, as a reformed rabbit, would suggest that we might adjourn the proceedings until tomorrow. Therefore I beg to move that the House do now resume.
§ Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House resumed.