HC Deb 24 November 1986 vol 106 cc49-50W
Mr. Oakes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he intends to take on the advice of the Criminal Law Revision Committee with regard to the case of R. v. Ayres.

Mr. Mellor

The 18th report of the Criminal Law Revision Committee recommended that the ambit of the common law offence of conspiracy to defraud should be restored by statute to what it had been before 1977. We have accepted this recommendation and clause 12(1) of the Criminal Justice Bill adopts the terms of the draft clause suggested by the committee. Also in accordance with the committee's advice, prosecutors will be given guidance by the Director of Public Prosecutions on the proper use of the charge. We have, however, departed from the 18th report in one respect. The committee recommended that the penalty for the offence should remain unlimited, but we have thought it right to provide a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment—the same as for theft.