9C Leave out paragraph (6) (b).
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Lord McCluskey
My Lords, this is an amendment to delete sub-paragraph (b) of subsection (6) of the new clause. I can fully understand why no notice can be given in the circumstances in sub-paragraph (a). That sub-paragraph ends with the word "or". The provision then continues:or(b) he satisfies the judge that there was good reason for not giving such notice".That means that the judge can dispense with any notice in any circumstances. Indeed, he can dispense with all notice if the party—for example, the prosecutor—satisfies the judge that there was good reason for not giving the specified notice.
1164 Unfortunately, the notion of "good reason" is an extremely vague one. I suggest that it should have been tightened up. It should have said something to the effect that he satisfies the judge that there was special cause for not giving notice and that no other party will suffer prejudice by dispensing with notice.
I suggest to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate that the idea of prejudice should be specifically written in so that it is not left as vague as it is at present. That is the basis of the amendment. I beg to move.
§ Moved, that Amendment No. 9C, as an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 9, be agreed to.—(Lord McCluskey.)
§ Lord Rodger of Earlsferry
My Lords, I understand the point that the noble and learned Lord makes, but we were anxious to build in a good deal of flexibility here, particularly from the point of view of the defence, because there may be reasons which occur more readily in the defence than the prosecution for notice not having been given before the trial.
The question of prejudice will be relevant to the allied question of whether some adjournment should be allowed. I would fully anticipate that if the judge were satisfied that an application could be made, despite the absence of notice, the question of an adjournment might be relevant.
§ Amendment No. 9C, as an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 9, by leave, withdrawn.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.