Supplementary memorandum from Lord Goldsmith,
Attorney General (DCB 34)
Thank you for inviting me to give evidence to
the Joint Committee.
In reply to Lord Campbell-Savours (Q 580) question,
"If the DPP, him or herself, was the filter, would it be
in order for him or her to consult with the Commission for Standards
and Privileges", I indicated I would let you know of my views.
Having given it some thought I am of the view
that consulting the Commissioner would present difficulties. I
could envisage providing some mechanism for him to make representations
to the DPP. The House has many long standing rules and regulations
and it would be beneficial if the Commissioner were in a position
to highlight those that may be relevant to the matter under consideration,
as well as ensuring that the DPP had before him all that he ought
to be aware of before making his decision. I would think there
would be difficulties though in sharing the evidence with the
Commissioner so the communication could be rather one way. It
is perhaps not as important how this is achieved. It could be
by way of a protocol or a formal channel for representations or
by some other means.
I take this opportunity to deal with another
matter. I was asked questions about clauses 15 and 16 (Q 593 to
595). After the Committee rose I intimated to Lord Campbell-Savours
that I wanted to reflect further on the one point and would write
to the Committee to clarify my views on this.
The concern expressed was what happens in an
authorised operation if a particular officer carries out a corrupt
act which is part of the authorised operation but was not itself
authorised. As I said in my evidence much will turn on the precision
with which authorisations are given but the clauses provide adequate
safeguards. The authorisation is given by the Secretary of State
if he is satisfied the conditions specified in clauses 15 (4)
to (6) are met, and these include the requirement that there are
arrangements in force to secure that the acts or omissions, their
nature and likely consequences are reasonable having regard to
the purpose for which they are done or made and that no act or
omission will be done beyond what is necessary for the discharge
of a function of the Intelligence Services. If therefore the envisaged
act or omission cannot be said to be either reasonable and/or
necessary, it may not be covered by the authorisation and therefore
may not be exempt.
I would like to clarify part of my response
where I said it is not the operation which is authorised. Whilst
the Bill envisages that the particular acts or omissions may be
specified or be of a specified description, it also envisages
they may be identified as "acts or omissions done or made
in the course of a specified operation".
The immunity however, even is that case does
not follow just from the authorisation of an operation; what matters
is the form of the authorisation.