Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill


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New Schedule 11

‘Amendments to armed forces legislation
Part 1
Courts-Martial (Appeals) Act 1968
1 The Courts-Martial (Appeals) Act 1968 (c. 20) has effect subject to the following amendments.
Determination of appeals from Court Martial
2 (1) Section 12 (power to quash conviction as unsafe) is amended as follows.
(2) After subsection (1) insert—
“(1A) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a), the conviction is not unsafe if the Appeal Court think that there is no reasonable doubt about the appellant’s guilt.
(1B) Subsection (1A) does not require the Appeal Court to dismiss the appeal if they think that it would seriously undermine the proper administration of justice to allow the conviction to stand.”
(3) After subsection (1B) (inserted by sub-paragraph (2) above) insert—
“(1C) In determining for the purposes of subsection (1)(a) whether the conviction is unsafe the Appeal Court may, if they think it appropriate in all the circumstances of the case, disregard any development in the law since the date of the conviction.”
3 (1) Section 21 (appeal against finding of not guilty by reason of insanity) is amended as follows.
(2) After subsection (1A) (as inserted by the Armed Forces Act 2006) insert—
“(1AA) For the purposes of subsection (1A)(a), the finding shall not be regarded as unsafe for a reason unrelated to the correctness of the finding of insanity if the Appeal Court think that there is no reasonable doubt that the appellant did the act or made the omission charged.
(1AB) Subsection (1AA) does not require the Appeal Court to dismiss the appeal if they think that it would seriously undermine the proper administration of justice to allow the finding to stand.”
(3) After subsection (1AB) (inserted by sub-paragraph (2) above) insert—
“(1AC) In determining for the purposes of subsection (1A)(a) whether the finding is unsafe the Appeal Court may, if they think it appropriate in all the circumstances of the case, disregard any development in the law since the date of the finding.”
4 (1) Section 25 (disposal of appeal against finding of unfitness) is amended as follows.
(2) After subsection (1A) (as inserted by the Armed Forces Act 2006) insert—
“(1AA) For the purposes of subsection (1A)(a), a finding shall not be regarded as unsafe for a reason unrelated to the correctness of the finding that the appellant is unfit to stand trial if the Appeal Court think that there is no reasonable doubt that the appellant did the act or made the omission charged.
(1AB) Subsection (1AA) does not require the Appeal Court to dismiss the appeal if they think that it would seriously undermine the proper administration of justice to allow the finding to stand.”
(3) After subsection (1AB) (inserted by sub-paragraph (2) above) insert—
“(1AC) In determining for the purposes of subsection (1A)(a) whether a finding is unsafe the Appeal Court may, if they think it appropriate in all the circumstances of the case, disregard any development in the law since the date of the finding.”
5 In section 28 (evidence)—
(a) in subsection (2)(b) after “allowing” insert “or dismissing”, and
(b) in subsection (2)(c) for “which is the subject of the appeal” substitute “which is relevant to the determination of the appeal”.
6 Before section 36 (but after the cross-heading preceding it) insert—
“35A Evidence given after close of prosecution case
In determining an appeal under this Part, the Appeal Court shall not disregard any evidence solely on the ground that it was given after the judge advocate at the appellant’s trial wrongly permitted the trial to continue after the close of the evidence for the prosecution.”—[Mr. Coaker.]
Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.
Amendment made: No. 369, in title, line 4, after ‘Prisons’ insert
‘and the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Prison Complaints’.—[Mr. Hanson.]
Ordered.
That certain written evidence already reported to the House be appended to the proceedings of the Committee.—[Mr. Hanson.]
Mr. Hanson: On a point of order, Sir Nicholas. We potentially have twenty-one minutes left to us. May I thank you and your co-Chairmen, Mr. O’Hara and Mr. Cook, for your diligence, charm, wit and efficiency in managing the Committee? This is an unusual type of early release for the Committee, but I am certainly glad that we have managed to get it because I can now get my train to north Wales with some ease.
On behalf of the whole Committee, may I thank the badge messengers, Mr. Sandall, our Clerk, Hansard, and our colleagues from the police. All have provided a particularly efficient service, especially given the number of amendments that have been tabled by the Government and by Opposition Members.
I particularly thank the Opposition Front Benchers—the hon. and learned Member for Harborough and the hon. Members for Enfield, Southgate, for Somerton and Frome and for Cambridge—for their diligence in testing the Government. I hope that they have found it not an unfruitful exercise. My hon. Friends the Under-Secretaries of State for the Home Department and for Justice and I have agreed to examine a number of the amendments that they have proposed. I also thank my two ministerial colleagues for their sterling support in this work, and my hon. Friend the Member for Tooting and his Opposition counterpart, the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood, for their work in the usual channels.
I particularly thank my hon. Friends the Members for Sedgefield and for Ealing, Southall for their commitment to the Bill. They won very hard fought by-elections during the summer. I am sure that they looked forward to spending forty-eight and a half hours in Committee in 16 sittings spread over two parliamentary Sessions, given that the Bill was carried over and has been in Committee since 16 October. I am sure that they dreamed of this day when they were tramping the streets of Trimdon and Ealing. I wish them well and thank them for their support. I also thank my hon. Friends who are not present for their commitment to the Bill and I thank Opposition Members whose contributions tested us in debate.
Finally, I want to thank the most important people in the room: the officials who have backed up the ministerial team; they have been superb. Hon. Members will have seen a constant stream of them coming through the Committee to support all three of us. They have done a sterling job. Perhaps I will give them tomorrow off before we start preparing the Bill for Report and for consideration in another place. I wish them a happy Christmas and new year.
I conclude by wishing you, Sir Nicholas, a very happy Christmas and a positive new year.
Mr. Garnier: Further to that point of order, Sir Nicholas. I join the Minister in thanking you and your two co-Chairmen.
This comes with even greater heartfelt sincerity from the Opposition, as we do not have the benefit of the officials, whom I cannot see, but I know they exist somewhere in the background—I occasionally see a note being passed although I cannot see where it has come from—but I thank Mr. Sandall and his colleagues in the Public Bill Office, because without the assistance of the Clerk’s Department, running a Committee in opposition would be, not difficult, but impossible.
I also thank the Hansard reporters for their forbearance, their speed and their accuracy, and the police officers and the doorkeepers. As usual they have kept us in order and kept the show on the road. I am grateful to all of them.
It is fair to say that this has been an unhappy Bill, but not an unhappy Committee. I believe that there were 85 new clauses proposed for a Bill that already had 128 clauses, and 11 new schedules to add to the 23 that are already there. There must have been about 400 amendments on the amendment paper, the vast majority of which were tabled by the Government. The Bill has its genesis in two separate Departments and as a consequence, it is not the most coherent of measures. I described it on Second Reading as something of a plum-duff. The Minister of State thought that was jolly unfair and he complained that he had never had plum-duff.
6.45 pm
I owe a huge debt of gratitude for their assistance to my hon. Friends the Members for Enfield, Southgate, for Ruislip-Northwood, for Kettering and for Broxbourne, as well as my colleagues on the Liberal Democrat Benches. We all wish that the Minister had had an opportunity to have plum-duff, as he would then have understood the accuracy of my analogy. I promised myself that I would make a plum-duff pudding for the Minister of State before the end of the Committee, but, sadly, I have not had time. Instead, I have been to the House of Commons shop and bought him a House of Commons whisky cake. It is full of nuts. I shall give it to him when the Committee is over. I want him to take it home, chew on it, enjoy every tasty morsel and understand that although it is not quite as good as a plum duff, it is as full of separate ingredients as a plum-duff might be.
The Chairman: Perhaps you should give it to him now so that he can enjoy it on the train—if you allow him to catch his train.
Mr. Garnier: I am not quite sure about the etiquette for passing Christmas puddings across the Committee Room. The Minister will see that it is full of nuts, but if he delves in there, something edible might emerge. In the same way, when we delved into this Bill, one or two ideas emerged that are quite good, but it is held together with an awful lot of extraneous and not terribly helpful material.
The Chairman: Order. I do not wish to rule a distinguished barrister, or a judge, for that matter, out of order, but this is rather a long point of order.
Mr. Garnier: Well, there we are. Let me conclude by thanking everybody for having given us a jolly wonderful time, and let us hope that we do not have to go through this again.
Mr. Heath: Further to that point of order, Sir Nicholas. I, too, thank you and your co-Chairmen for your never-ending diligence in getting my constituency pronounced correctly. It is appreciated.
I associate myself and my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge with the thanks that have already been given to everyone involved with the Committee. It would be otiose—to use the Under-Secretary of State for Justice’s and my favourite word—to repeat those thanks. These mini-Oscar ceremonies at the end of Committees can become very long—and now we are expected to give gifts. I feel hopelessly under-prepared for the occasion.
As the hon. and learned Gentleman said, this has been a good Committee on a mixed Bill, which has both its good parts and some elements that we shall continue to probe and oppose. My one parting shot is that there were times when we had to sit late to get through the business under an artificially truncated timetable. I hope that we will have sufficiently long on Report to do justice to the Bill, which is very long and has lots of disparate parts that we still need to consider in depth. That, if I may say so through you, Sir Nicholas, will require at least two days, but I shall make that point elsewhere. Thank you, very much.
The Chairman: This has been an excellent Committee. I am not allowed to comment on the Bill—I am totally impartial—but I want to thank in particular the Ministers and Opposition spokesmen for their tireless work and the tremendous amount of research and preparation that they have put into the Bill.
I thank all members of the Committee, and welcome in particular the new Members from Sedgefield, the former Prime Minister’s constituency, and Ealing, Southall. I hope that you have learned quite a lot from the Committee. I thank also my Clerk and all the Clerks who have helped, as well as Hansard, the police and the doorkeepers. It has been a very well run Committee.
Finally, I thank my co-Chairmen, Mr. O’Hara, and Mr. Cook for assisting. We have done a splendid job with the co-operation of all members of the Committee. I thank you all and wish you a happy Christmas and prosperous new year.
Bill, as amended, to be reported.
Committee rose at eleven minutes to Seven o’clock.
 
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Prepared 30 November 2007