49. We therefore remain of the view that we reached
in our first Report on this Bill, that the Threshold Test should
be placed on a statutory footing and some necessary basic safeguards
inserted into the legal framework. We suggest an amendment to
the Bill below which is designed to stimulate parliamentary debate
about this recommendation. In recommending this amendment, we
think it is important to acknowledge that, to the best of our
knowledge, there have been no cases concerning terrorism in which
charges brought on the threshold test have been dropped and the
suspect subsequently released without trial. We regard that as
a testament to the conscientious way in which the test is currently
being operated by the CPS, but we remain concerned for the longer
term by the lack of statutory authority for the test and the absence
of independent safeguards.
'Lower threshold for charging in terrorism cases
(1)When deciding whether there is sufficient evidence
to charge a person with an offence having a terrorist connection,
a Crown Prosecutor may apply the "Threshold Test" for
charging if the conditions in subsection (3) below are satisfied.
(2) The "Threshold Test" for charging is
met where there is at least a reasonable suspicion that the suspect
has committed an offence having a terrorist connection.
(3) The conditions which must be satisfied for the
Threshold Test to apply are:
(a) it would not be appropriate to release the suspect
on bail after charge
(b) the evidence required to demonstrate a realistic
prospect of conviction is not yet available, and
(c) it is reasonable to believe that such evidence
will become available within a reasonable time.
(4) The factors to be considered in deciding whether
the Threshold Test of reasonable suspicion is met include
(a) the evidence available at the time;
(b) the likelihood and nature of further evidence
(c) the reasonableness for believing that evidence
will become available;
(d) the time it will take to gather that evidence
and the steps being taken to do so;
(e) the impact the expected evidence will have on
(f) the charges that the evidence will support.
(5) Where a Crown Prosecutor makes a charging decision
in accordance with the Threshold Test, the person charged shall
be immediately informed of the fact that they have been charged
on the standard of reasonable suspicion.
(6) When the person charged on the Threshold Test
is brought before the Court it shall be the duty of the Crown
Prosecutor to inform the Court of that fact.
(7) The Court shall set a timetable for the receipt
of the additional evidence and for the application of the normal
test for charging as set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
(8) The Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution
Service Inspectorate shall report annually on the operation of
the Threshold Test in terrorism cases.'