- (a) in sub-paragraph (1) (regulations to provide that evidence be served on or before the relevant dale) omit the words "on or before the relevant date" and after paragraph (b) insert "before the expiry of the period prescribed by the regulations; but the judge may at his discretion extend or further extend that period.", and
- (b) for sub-paragraph (2) substitute—
§ "(2) The regulations may make provision as to the procedure to be followed on an application for the extension or further extension of a period under sub-paragraph (1) above."
(2) In section 13(1) of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (transitional time limits relating to service of unused material), after paragraph (c) insert—
(ca) copies of the documents containing the evidence on which the charge or charges are based are served on the accused (where this Part applies by virtue of section I(2)(cc)),".
§ (3) In section 22 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (time limits in preliminary stages of criminal proceedings), in paragraph (a) of the definition of "appropriate court" in subsection (1.1) (which has effect so as to allow the Crown Court to extend time limits where the accused is committed for trial or indicted), after "trial" insert ", sent for trial under section 51 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998".")
§ Lord Falconer of Thoroton
My Lords, ] beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 94. With the leave of the House, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 127, 130, 219 and 220.
473 Schedule 3 to the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 provides for regulations about the service of evidence where a person is sent without committal proceedings to the Crown Court under Section 51 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The intention is to set a fixed timetable for the service of the evidence so as to speed up the progress of these cases.
The existing formulation has led to difficulties since the regulations can only set a single period within which, in all cases, the evidence must be served. But plainly some cases are more complex than others and require more preparation time. The result has been that the regulations made for the current pilots have prescribed a date one year after the case is sent to the Crown Court, in order to ensure that the requirement can be satisfied even in the more complex cases. That length of time is not necessary in the vast majority of cases. The new clause inserted by Amendment No. 94 therefore amends Schedule 3 by allowing the judge to have discretion.
Amendments Nos. 219 and 220 make related repeals, and Amendments Nos. 127 and 130 provide for the commencement of this and other provisions. I commend the amendments to the House.
§ Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 94.—(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.