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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 8 July 1993

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Murder Cases

Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will ensure that, in murder cases where hon. Members have raised the conviction with members of the Government, transcripts or notes of the trial are retained longer than the five year norm provided that the hon. Member is still seeking a review of the case, regardless of whether it has gone to appeal.

Mr. John M. Taylor : If an hon. Member seeks a review of a murder case, he, or others, may purchase any transcript required within the five- year period. On request, the Department will supply details of the contractor responsible for keeping the particular record. Applications for leave to appeal are required to be lodged within 28 days and reasons to justify any extension of time are required. If there has been an application for leave to appeal, transcript relevant to the grounds of appeal will have been obtained and will be retained indefinitely in appeals against a murder conviction. The Royal Commission on criminal justice made no recommendation to extend the five-year period for the keeping of a verbatim record and I see no case to do so.

Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what arrangements are made for the storage of transcripts or notes of the trials in murder cases which have gone to appeal.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The verbatim record is kept for five years after it was taken, regardless of whether there is an appeal. Transcripts are not automatically produced for cost reasons, but may be purchased if required within the five-year period.

If there is an appeal against a murder conviction, any transcripts purchased by the Court of Appeal and the documents provided by the Crown court to the Court of Appeal are retained indefinitely by arrangement with the Public Record Office.

Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make it his policy, in circumstances in which the Home Office has requested from an hon. Member representing the interests of a convicted murderer a statement concerning that case, to provide the hon. Member on request with a transcript of the relevant portions of the trial including the summings up by counsel for the defence, the prosecution and the trial judge.

Mr. John M. Taylor : Verbatim records of murder trials are retained for five years. If a transcript is required by an hon. Member, the Home Office, or another organisation or person, it must be purchased within the five-year period. The contractor responsible for keeping the records will be


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required to meet any such request. It would not be appropriate for my Department to meet the costs of such transcription.

A verbatim record of the evidence and a trial judge's summing up is always taken, but prosecution and defence closing speeches are not matters of evidence or law which a jury are required to have regard to. A record of these may not be available as there is no requirement to record them.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Serious Fraud Office

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the rank of the officer or officers of the City of London police who on or about 1 April 1992 prepared letters purporting to have been written, respectively by the right hon. Member for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale (Sir D. Steel) and Mr. D. W. Freeman in connection with a case under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office ; what disciplinary proceedings have been taken ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Charles Wardle : These are matters for the Commissioner of Police for the City of London.

Police (Assaults)

Mr. Nigel Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officers in each police force in the United Kingdom have had to retire from their jobs as a result of injuries caused by assault in each year since 1979.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The information requested is not held centrally for police forces in England and Wales. I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland that this is also the case for Scotland. If individual forces were able to provide the information requested, it could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

I understand from my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland that his Department holds information about retirements from the Royal Ulster Constabulary from which the information requested could be extracted in respect of former RUC police officers. If my hon. Friend writes to him, he will provide the information.

Police (Civilian Staff)

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how he expects the recommendation in his White Paper that civilian staff employed for police purposes should be employed by the chief constable to work in practice.

Mr. Charles Wardle : It is too early to say how the detailed arrangements for the employment of civilian staff in the police service will be managed. Civilian staff have an increasingly important part to play in the provision of a good quality police service. It therefore seems appropriate, and in the interests of all those working in the police service, that the civilian staff should be directly employed by the chief constable.


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Sunday Trading

Sir Ivan Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will publish his plans to reform Sunday trading law in England and Wales.

Mr. Howard : We intend to lay before Parliament next week and publish on 13 July a draft Sunday trading Bill together with a covering text describing the options for reform.

Family Reunification

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what ways United Kingdom legislation will have to be changed to implement the resolution on family reunification adopted by the Ministers responsible for immigration at their meeting in Copenhagen on 1 and 2 June ; and what cost implications this will have.

Mr. Charles Wardle : There will be no need to amend primary legislation to implement the resolution on family reunification.

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the international conventions and fundamental provisions in national legislation which the Ministers responsible for immigration indicated would be taken into account in their resolution on family reunification at their meeting in Copenhagen on 1 and 2 June ; and which of these obligations are relevant to the implementation of this resolution in United Kingdom law.

Mr. Charles Wardle : It is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of all the international conventions which the United Kingdom has ratified or the provisions in domestic legislation which might be relevant. However, the following are likely to be applicable : 1. International Conventions

(a) The United Nations Convention on Human Rights ;

(b) The European Convention on Human Rights ;

(c) The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ; (

(d) The European Convention on the Adoption of Children ; (

(e) The United Nations Convention on Refugees.

2. Domestic legislation

(a) The Immigration Act, 1971 ;

(b) The Marriage Act, 1949 ;

(c) The Children Act, 1989 ;

(d) The Adoption Act, 1976, together with the equivalent Act and Order for Scotland and Northern Ireland ;

(e) The Family Law Reform Act, 1987.

Dogs (Tail Docking)

Mr. Nigel Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures will be taken against those veterinary surgeons who continue to dock the tails of dogs ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Charles Wardle : It is a matter for the royal college to determine what controls to impose over veterinary surgeons.

Drinking and Driving

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate for each year since 1967 the number of times a week people drive motor vehicles after consuming more than the legal limit for alcohol for drivers and the number of related deaths each year.


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Mr. Maclean : Such estimates are not available. However, the average weekly number of screening breath tests in England and Wales for the years 1968 to 1992 and the number of fatalities per year involving illegal alcohol levels are as follows :


                    |Average number of  |Annual number of                       

                    |screening breath   |fatalities in                          

                    |tests per week     |accidents involving                    

                                        |illegal alcohol                        

                                        |levels<1>                              

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1968                |980                |-                                      

1969                |1,130              |-                                      

1970                |1,400              |-                                      

1971                |1,860              |-                                      

1972                |2,310              |-                                      

1973                |2,540              |-                                      

1974                |2,380              |-                                      

1975                |2,580              |-                                      

1976                |2,580              |-                                      

1977                |2,520              |-                                      

1978                |2,730              |-                                      

1979                |3,150              |1,790                                  

1980                |3,460              |1,570                                  

1981                |3,400              |1,540                                  

1982                |3,980              |1,670                                  

1983                |4,630              |1,200                                  

1984                |4,000              |1,280                                  

1985                |4,810              |1,130                                  

1986                |5,830              |1,060                                  

1987                |7,690              |980                                    

1988                |8,520              |840                                    

1989                |10,400             |870                                    

1990                |11,480             |800                                    

1991                |10,810             |700                                    

1992                |10,210             |-                                      

<1> Source: Department of Transport. Figures for years prior to 1979 not        

available. Figures for 1992 not yet available.                                  

Treason

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to review United Kingdom legislation on treason.

Mr. Maclean : The Government have no such plans.

Quangos

Mr. Grocott : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the former Members of this House who have been appointed since 1988 by his Department to quasi autonomous non-governmental organisations ; and if he will list in each case the title of the post, the salary, the duration of the appointment, and the party which the former hon. Member represented.

Mr. Howard : The following former Members have been appointed to Home Office non-departmental public bodies :

David Bellotti

Trustee of the Community Development Foundation

Expenses only

Appointed January 1992 for 3 years

Liberal Democrat

Right hon. Lord Carlisle of Bucklow, QC

Chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

Salary £31,350

Appointed 1 March 1989 until 31 March 1995

Conservative

John Cartwright

Member of the Police Complaints Authority

Salary £38,020


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Appointed for 3 years from October 1992

SDP

Sheila Faith

Member of the Parole Board

Fee Paid ; £139 per attendance

Appointed 1 June 1991 for 3 years

Conservative

Ben Ford

Member of the Firearms Consultative Committee

Expenses only

Appointed 1989 for 2 years

Labour

Lord Kimball

Chairman of the Firearms Consultative Committee

Expenses only

Appointed for 5 years from 1989

Conservative

Anna McCurley

Member of the Horserace Betting Levy Board

Salary £11,640

Appointed 1988 for 3 years extended until 1994

Conservative

Michael Meadowcroft

Trustee of the Community Development Foundation

Expenses only

Appointed 1986, extended until 1994

Liberal

Norman Miscampbell, QC

Member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

Fee £246 per day

Appointed 22 March 1993 until 31 March 1995

Conservative

Lord Wyatt of Weeford

Chairman of the Horserace Totalisator-Board

Salary £90,918

Appointed 1976 ; reappointed 1993 for 2 years

Labour

Information in respect of the parole local review committees is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Information in respect of the Fire Services Examination Board is not available.

Prison Security Guards

Mr. Jon Owen Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the current standard hourly rate for prison security guards.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the prison service. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Jon Owen Jones, dated July 1993 : The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent question about the current standard hourly rate for prison security guards. Subsequent to the introduction of Fresh Start in 1987 prison officers receive an annual salary paid monthly. They are conditioned to an average week of 39 hours net, any additional hours worked are compensated for by time off in lieu as they are a non overtime grade.

Prison Officers have a seven point pay scale with a 10 and 15 year increment. The hourly rate ranges from £7.42 at the minimum to £9.25 at the 15 year point. These salaries are part of the annual pay negotiations between the Treasury and the Prison Officers Association and will be uplifted from 1 April 1993. Any increase will be within the Government pay restraints and be limited to between 0 to 1.5 per cent. increase.


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