§ Mr. Alton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement on his decision to place an exclusion order on Mr. John Matthews;
(2) what consideration he gives to (a) acquittal decisions by the courts in respect of terrorist-related offences with which a person has been charged and (b) decisions by the Crown Prosecution Service to withdraw charges against such a person, in deciding whether to place an exclusion order on such a person.
§ Mr. Howard
On Tuesday 6 July I exercised the powers conferred upon me by part II of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 to exclude John Gerard Matthews from Great Britain. Before reaching a decision I carefully reviewed all the information which had been placed before me. On the basis of that information I was satisfied that the criteria set out at section 5 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act were met in this case.
The decision which I am required to take in relation to exclusion orders is different in kind from that which the prosecuting authorities apply in deciding whether to continue criminal proceedings. They consider whether, on the basis of evidence which will be admissible in court, there is a realistic prospect of persuading a jury beyond reasonable doubt that a person is guilty of a specific offence. I have to be satisfied that a person is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland. In making that assessment it is open to me to consider information which would not be admissible in court. Whilst I would have regard to the fact that a person had been acquitted, or criminal proceedings discontinued, that fact would not preclude the making of an exclusion order.