§ Mr. Mills
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from magistrates on the effect of the changes on the non-disclosure of previous convictions introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 1991; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Jack
There is nothing in the Criminal Justice Act 1991 that prevents the disclosure of previous convictions to a court which has convicted an individual of a particular offence; and the Court of Appeal has recently made it clear that it is appropriate for courts to continue to receive antecedent information in the same way as they did before the principal provisions of the Act came into force on 1 October 1992. A number of representations have been received, including some from individual magistrates, about section 29 of the Act which deals with the relevance of previous convictions to the current offence. These matters have recently been clarified in a series of guideline judgments from the Court of Appeal.