HL Deb 22 July 1986 vol 479 cc191-2

9 Page 15, line 30, at end insert— '(e) where he is being prosecuted under section 255 or 452B of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975 (new prosecution for same or similar offence), until his case is finally disposed of.'.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

My Lords, I beg to move that this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 9. Again, this amendment deals with a point which was raised in Committee in your Lordships' House. One of the innovations of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980 was to enable the High Court, where an appeal against conviction was successful, in some circumstances and where it was thought just, to authorise the bringing of a new prosecution. Without this amendment, the accused in such circumstances would have to apply for legal aid in the normal way, either to the courts in solemn proceedings or to the board in summary cases.

No doubt in such cases, which are of course far from common, legal aid would normally be granted. However, as noble Lords commented—in particular the noble Lord, Lord Morton of Shuna—the circumstances which lead to authority for a retrial being granted will not in general be the responsibility of the accused, and therefore assistance from the legal aid fund should always be available to meet the costs of his defence at the second trial. We can see the force in that, and the amendment therefore makes automatic legal aid available, without financial or other tests, to accused persons against whom such a new prosecution is brought. I beg to move.

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

Lord Morton of Shuna

My Lords, as I asked for this amendment in Committee, I am very pleased to see that while I was not persuasive here I seem to have managed to persuade people in another place. It is wholly to be welcomed.

On Question, Motion agreed to.