§ 41 Schedule 4, page 72, line 3, at end insert—
§ (".—(1) Section 51 (intimidation etc. of witnesses, jurors and others) is amended as follows.
(2) For subsections (1) to (3) (offences of intimidating, and of doing or threatening harm to, witnesses etc.) substitute—
(1) A person commits an offence if—
§ (2) A person commits an offence if—
- (a) he does an act which harms, and is intended to harm, another person or, intending to cause another person to fear harm, he threatens to do an act which would harm that other person,
- (b) he does or threatens to do the act knowing or believing that the person harmed or threatened to be harmed ('the victim"), or some other person, has assisted in an investigation into an offence or has given evidence or particular evidence in proceedings for an offence:, or has acted as a juror or concurred in a particular verdict in proceedings for an offence, and
- (c) he does or threatens to do it because of that knowledge or belief.
§ (3) For the purposes of subsections (1) and (2) it is immaterial that the act is or would be done, or that the threat is made—
- (a) otherwise than in the presence of the victim; or
- (b) to a person other than the victim."
§ (3) In subsection (8) (presumption in proceedings for offence under subsection (2))—
- (a) for "he did or threatened to do an act falling within paragraph (a) within the relevant period" substitute "within the relevant period-—
- (a) he did an act which harmed, and was intended to harm, another person, or
- (b) intending to cause another person fear of harm, he threatened to do an act which would harm that other person,
- (b) after "to have done the act" insert "or (as the case may be) threatened to do the act".").
§ Lord Williams of Mostyn
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 41.I speak also to Amendment No. 54.
The amendments clarify the drafting of Section 51 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, in relation to the intimidation of witnesses and others involved in criminal investigations and proceedings.
A recent decision, relating to the intimidation of witnesses through a third party, although eventually overturned by the Court of Appeal, has raised some questions about the current wording of Section 51 of the 1994 Act. There seems to be a misunderstanding in relation to Section 51(3) of the 1994 Act which states that:A person does an act "to" another person with the intention of intimidating, or (as the case may be) harming, that other person not only where the act is done in the presence of that other and directed at him directly but also where the act is done to a third person and is intended, in the circumstances, to intimidate or (as the case may be) harm the person at whom the act is directed".It was suggested that a threat to harm the witness, relayed through a third party, would not be caught by the offence. We feel that we should not lose this opportunity to put the matter beyond doubt. The amendments simply seek minor drafting changes. They do not in any way intend to change what was understood to be the existing situation.
§ Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 41.—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.