HL Deb 22 July 1986 vol 479 cc190-1

8 Clause 22, page 15, leave out lines 19 and 20, and insert— '(c) where he is being prosecuted under summary procedure, and either is in custody or has been liberated under section 295(1)(a) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975 (liberation by police on undertaking to appear)—'.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

My Lords, I beg to move that this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 8. This amendment results from our discussion of this point in Committee, when I promised to look further at it. One of the reforms introduced by the Bail (Scotland) Act 1980 was to enable the officer in charge of a police station to release a person who has been arrested and charged with an offence which may be tried summarily, but to require that he give a written undertaking to appear in court on a specified day. In practice, as pointed out in discussion, such undertakings usually require appearance within a very short time—a day or two—of the release, and this may make it difficult for the accused to consult a solicitor in the normal way. We therefore propose that in such circumstances he should be eligible for automatic legal aid in the same way as are persons in custody. I beg to move.

Moved, That this House do agree with the Commons in the said amendment.—(Lord Cameron of Lochbroom.)

The Earl of Selkirk

My Lords, this sounds to me a sensible arrangement. I am unfamiliar with the procedure of "liberation by police on undertaking to appear". I thought that this would have been called bail. I dare say there are better words that can be used. But the amendment seems to me sensible.

Lord Morton of Shuna

My Lords, mechanical difficulties having prevented me arriving in time, I might as well say something. This amendment helps the situation mentioned at earlier stages. It is to be welcomed.

Lord Elwyn-Jones

My Lords, if I may echo the words of the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, why do we have this charming phrase, "liberation by police on undertaking to appear"? Is that really a long way of saying bail?

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

My Lords, with the leave of the House, it describes exactly what is done. It is a procedure in place of bail which is granted either by the court or in very exceptional circumstances, I think I am right in saying, by the Lord Advocate.

On Question, Motion agreed to.