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4 Feb 1998 : Column WA113

Written Answers

Wednesday, 4th February 1998.

UNITA Representative

Lord Hughes of Woodside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 11 December 1997 (WA 44), whether Mr. Kandeya, the UNITA of Angola representative, remains in the United Kingdom; and whether the UNITA office in the United Kingdom is still operating.[HL246]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Mr. Kandeya is still in this country and continues to operate from his business premises. He has applied to remain here. But we remain committed to the full implementation of UNSCRS 1127 and 1135 as soon as possible.

Skeikh Al Jamri

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in accordance with the Mission Statement of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Foreign Secretary's speech "Human Rights into a New Century", they will urge the Government of Bahrain to release Sheikh Abdul Amir Al Jamri, who has now been held in custody for two years without being charged or tried, and to enter into discussions with the Committee for Popular Petition on their demands for the restoration of the 1973 constitution and the 1974 Parliament, as requested in the Committee's letter of 18 January.[HL247]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As I told the noble Lord in my Answer of 28 January, we have discussed Sheikh Al Jamri's continuing detention without charge with the Bahrainis authorities on a number of occasions. We have called on them to release or charge all those held in detention. We will continue to do so. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary raised the issue of a dialogue between the Bahraini authorities and the Committee for Popular Petition with the Crown Prince and Foreign Minister of Bahrain during their meeting on 28 January.

Mr. Pius Njawe

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will instruct the British High Commissioner in Yaounde to ask the Cameroon authorities for permission to visit Mr. Pius Njawe, editor-in-chief of the weekly Le Messager, who was sentenced to imprisonment for two years on

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    13 January for publishing an article entitled "Is President Biya Sick?", in which it was reported that the President had suffered a heart attack at the Cameroon Cup football finals.[HL288]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The British High Commissioner in Yaounde visited Mr. Pius Njawe in prison on 7 January and found him in good health. Our High Commissioner subsequently made representations to the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Cameroon about the excessive sentence given to Pius Njawe.

Diplomatic and Consular Staff: Evidence in Foreign Courts

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What rules they apply in deciding whether diplomatic or consular personnel may give evidence in foreign courts.[HL290]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given in another place by my honourable friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Tony Lloyd, to the honourable member for Erith and Thamesmead on 29 January.

Child Evidence

Lord Meston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have plans to implement the outstanding recommendations of the Pigot Report concerning evidence by children as further recommended by the report by Sir William Utting of the review of safeguards for children People Like Us, published in November 1997.[HL379]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The majority of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Video Evidence were implemented in the Criminal Justice Act 1991. The recommendations which have not been implemented are currently being considered by the Steering Group on Child Evidence in consultation with the review of vulnerable or intimidated witnesses which was announced on 13 June 1997 by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary.

Children in Public Houses

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will issue guidance to publicans reminding them that a children's certificate is required before they can allow children under 14 years of age into the bar area.[HL334]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We have no plans to do so. We believe that the trade is well aware of the relevant licensing law provisions.

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Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many landlords have been:

    (a) charged;

    (b) convicted

    of allowing children under 14 years to be in the bar area of a public house in each of the last five years for which figures are available.[HL333]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Data on the number of people charged in England and Wales are not collected centrally. However, information on the number of persons cautioned and prosecuted as well as convicted under Section 168(1) of the Licensing Act 1964 is given in table A.

Table A: Persons cautioned, prosecuted and convicted under section 168(1)(1) of the Licensing Act 1964, 1992-1996
England and Wales

Persons cautioned533103
Persons proceeded against162--4
Persons found guilty121--4

(1) Permitting person under 14 to be in bar of licensed premises during permitted hours.

Information is not held centrally in Scotland on the number of persons charged. Figures are provided, in table B, on the number of persons proceeded against under Section 69(1) of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976.

Table B: Persons proceeded against and persons with a charge proved where the main offence was under section 69(1) (2)of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976, 1991-1995

Persons proceeded against44232
Persons with a charge proved33232

(2) The holder of a licence in respect of any premises or his employee or agent shall not allow a person under 14 to be in the bar of those premises during the permitted hours.

Under the Licensing Act for Northern Ireland 1971 it is an offence for children under 18 years to be on licensed premises. Available information is given in table C.

Table C: Persons proceeded against and convicted under the Licensing Act for Northern Ireland 1971, 1992-1996

Northern Ireland
Allowing minor(3) on licensed premises
Persons proceeded against22324
Persons found guilty--1321
Allowing minors(3) on licensed premises
Persons proceeded against61112
Persons found guilty3--112

(3) Minor(s) defined as aged under 18 years.

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Firearms Compensation

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many applicants under the terms of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 for compensation for pistols, revolvers and accessories have:

    (a) served notices on the Home Office stating intention to sue for payments, and

    (b) issued proceedings in the county courts, listing; (i) the numbers in each case; (ii) the name of each court; and (iii) the current state of each action.[HL348]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The number of claimants indicating an intention to sue for early payment of firearms compensation is not recorded. County court proceedings have been issued in four such cases, as follows:

CourtNumber of guns involved Current position
Ilford2Case struck out as disclosing no reasonable cause of action
Cheltenham3Awaiting hearing
Norwich8Awaiting hearing
West London2Subject to appeal

The appeal in the fourth case above is by the Home Office against a District Judge's refusal to strike out the case as disclosing no reasonable cause of action.

A further case, before a Sheriff Court in Scotland, has also been struck out.

Draft Bills

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they propose to take to make draft Bills available to Members of the House through the Printed Paper Office.[HL270]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Richard): It is expected that the drafts of Bills published for consultation and for consideration by parliamentary committees will be made available, by departments, in the Printed Paper Office in the House of Lords and in the Vote Office in the House of Commons.

Minister's Consultation with Farmers

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Donoughue to the Baroness Mallalieu on 12 January (WA 181), what regional visits Lord Donoughue has undertaken since May 1997 which have been organised in order to replace the information-gathering role previously carried out by the advisory regional panels to the Ministry of Agriculture.[HL218]

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The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): Since May 1997 I have made a total of nine regional visits specifically taking in farms and local businesses and I shall be undertaking a further one this week. In excess of 25 meetings have been included. These have afforded me considerable opportunity to discuss, with a large number of people and on an informal basis, a broad range of issues of concern in the rural community. As a further feature of my visits, I have also organised 11 meetings of a formal nature with representatives of a wide range of rural interests. These of course included farmers, tenant farmers and landowners, but also brought in environmentalists, agricultural workers' representatives, consumers, the retail sector, the banking sector, auctioneers and a number of others important in rural life. I am confident that my meetings, both formal and informal, continue to provide me with an excellent source of information about the concerns of all those who live and work in rural areas. I shall in future continue to use them as a regular means of consultation, giving a wider spread of rural contacts than was possible under the regional panels.

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