HC Deb 05 March 2002 vol 381 c196W
Mrs. Humble

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he will publish a consultation paper on proposals to amend the law in relation to payments to witnesses and pre-trial publicity. [40869]

Mr. Wills

The Lord Chancellor today issued a consultation paper seeking views on the detail of the legislation the Government intend to introduce to outlaw payments to witnesses. The legislation proposed is that it should be a criminal offence to make, or agree to make, or to receive, a payment to a witness or potential witness in criminal proceedings for his or her story with a view to publication.

Also, following the abandonment of the first trial of R v. Woodgate and others the Government intend to amend s.19 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 to empower the court to order a third party to pay costs incurred as a result of his or her unnecessary or improper act. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.