HC Deb 29 November 1988 vol 142 c176W
Mr. Cash

To ask the Attorney-General what steps he is taking to ensure that the right of the Crown to stand by jurors in criminal proceedings is limited to exceptional circumstances following the abolition of peremptory challenge.

The Attorney-General

The enactment by Parliament of legislation abolishing the right of defendants in England and Wales to remove jurors by means of peremptory challenge makes it appropriate that the Crown in England and Wales should assert its own right to stand by only on the basis of clearly defined and restrictive criteria. During the Third Reading of the Criminal Justice Bill my noble Friend, the Earl of Caithness, undertook on my behalf at column 980 of theOfficial Report for 1 December 1987 that in future stand by would be exercised in only two situations. These are, first, to remove a manifestly unsuitable juror, but only if the defence agrees; secondly, to remove a juror in a terrorist or security case in which the Attorney-General has authorised a check of the jury list, but only on the personal authority of the Attorney-General.

Accordingly, I have today had placed in the Libraries of both Houses copies of guidelines on the excercise by the Crown of its right to stand by. The guidelines are to have effect from 5 January 1989 to coincide with the implementation of section 118 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, which abolishes the right of peremptory challenge.

I am also taking this opportunity to re-issue, and have placed in the Libraries of both Houses, copies of my guidelines on jury checks. These incorporate amendments made in 1986, together with a new amendment to paragraph 9 whereby the Attorney-General's personal authority is required before the right to stand by can be exercised on the basis of information obtained as a result of an authorised check.