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Mr. Miller: I do not have those details, but when I develop my argument on the point that interests the hon. Gentleman, he will understand the need to have available to the court a wide range of penalties that separate the Rodney and Del Boy characters from organised criminals and terrorists.
Mr. Don Foster (Bath): I am broadly supportive of what the hon. Gentleman seeks to do. Does he accept that while there is widespread revulsion at the crimes that he is describing, it is vital that we improve the detection rate for those crimes? Is he saying that increasing the penalties will have a deterrent effect that will successfully reduce the number of crimes? Is that the intention of the Bill?
Mr. Foster: The job of trading standards officers is predominantly to detect those crimes, and they clearly would wish that there were fewer such crimes. Can the hon. Gentleman tell us how those officers believe that their job would be made easier by the increased penalties that he proposes?
Mr. Miller: Simply because discussion in the House and in Committee will promote the tenets of the Bill and raise awareness of the scams that are operating, the risk that they pose to the public and the way in which they fund organised crime. The view in the industry and among the professionals who seek to enforce the legislation is that we can play a part, and that is what I hope we are doing.
Mr. Gibb: Returning to the case of the car suspension units, which sounds appalling, what sentence was handed down? Was it two years' imprisonment, and if so, has the culprit served the full sentence?
Mr. Miller: I think that the individual involved did not receive a prison sentence. That raises the question of Parliament's role in raising awareness of the problem. I am grateful to the Front-Bench spokesmen for the official Opposition and the Liberal Democrats for stating their broad support for the general principles of my Bill. The more the House collectively states that current standards are not good enough, the more public awareness will be raised.
On a more light-hearted note, the problem has involved perfume, including one case in which urine was used as a stabiliser; extremely low-quality video recordings, including pirated tapes made in the cinema ensuring that the viewer sees the back of the heads of the people in the rows in front, which might be regarded as making the
One could say that Parliament should not legislate in an area in which the principle of caveat emptor should apply. One could say that my Bill represents an attack on Del Boy and Rodney and that it will damage entrepreneurship. One could say that some manufacturers have made enough money out of their products and are thus fair game for the copyists. Such views are misguided--one need only see who lies behind the copying to realise that. Sweatshops, organised criminals and the so-called Real IRA are among those involved.
On 3 December 2000, The Sunday Times did the country a favour by publishing an article following some research its journalists had carried out focusing on software associated with the new Sony PlayStation. It states:
Mr. Miller: Clause 6 deals with search warrants. As the hon. Gentleman will see, it covers all parts of the United Kingdom--hence the rather complicated wording. Reasonable grounds have to be provided, as is normal, but a justice of the peace
On 15 November last year, the Daily Express cited several products that it had identified with well-known brand names, such as Calvin Klein, Nike and Timberland. Some retailers will have great difficulty knowing whether they have purchased the real article. I want to ensure that, through our role as Parliament and through supportive mechanisms, trading standards officers and the Department of Trade and Industry, retailers are given good, solid advice on suspect shipments. I do not want to penalise the person who is genuinely had, just as I do not want to penalise the consumer who is had. I want to go back up the chain and hit the cowboys.
Mr. Miller: I totally agree with the right hon. Gentleman. The particular example cited in the Evening Standard was bought at a car boot sale in Hackney Wick, London. My purpose in quoting that article, which lists products ranging from tobacco, whisky and vodka to CDs, is to invite Londoners to think about the events of last week. They may have thought they were simply purchasing cheap goods and that it was okay to buy them, but those purchases could be funding the terrorist atrocity that we saw in London. We must do more as a nation to raise awareness of that fact.
Mr. Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield): The distinction between someone who sells goods from a suitcase and a reputable retailer is not always clear to the consumer. My hon. Friend will know that yesterday I observed a raid on several premises by trading standards officers and the police in south Birmingham. Court cases may follow, so it would not be appropriate for me to go