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Lord Goodhart: I am grateful for the support that I received in this matter, not only from my noble friend Lord Avebury and the noble Lord, Lord Desai, but also and perhaps more importantly from the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford. On issues relating to the Terrorism Bill, support for these Benches from speakers on the Conservative Benches is relatively rare and therefore more valuable, but much more so in view of the long professional experience of the noble Lord as a journalist.
It seems to me, from the response made by the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, that the Government--as the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, said--do not understand the way in which journalism works, nor the importance of the freedom of the press. Saying that journalists may be able to rely on the defence of "reasonable excuse" is nothing like an adequate answer here. The real problem is that, if journalists are threatened with being taken to court, they will simply not seek the information which may render them liable to prosecution, even if at the end of the day they may find themselves able to raise the defence of "reasonable excuse".
What is needed is an amendment making clear that journalists who act in good faith are not in danger of prosecution. This is an important matter. I have to say that I do not find the Government's answer satisfactory. Therefore, it is a matter to which we shall very probably wish to return at future stages of the Bill. Having said that, it is not my intention to press the issue to a vote today. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 44 to 52. These are really minor technical amendments. Amendment No. 43 makes it clear that the Court of Session has power to make a restraint order under paragraph 18 where the Lord Advocate applies for a restraint order in the circumstances set out in sub-paragraph (2). Amendments Nos. 44 to 50 are all minor drafting amendments. As Members of the Committee will no doubt have seen, the changes reflect the drafting approach taken in Part I of Schedule 4 for England and Wales.
Amendment No. 51 ensures that all the appropriate sub-paragraphs of paragraph 27 can be applied to the enforcement in Scotland of external forfeiture and restraint orders. Amendment No. 52 ensures that the Bill correctly replicates the position in the PTA. Part IV of Schedule 4 allows for cases where a person subject to a forfeiture order is declared bankrupt. Under sub-paragraph (3) of paragraph 47 the forfeiture order is set aside, but under paragraph 48 the Secretary of State is taken to be a creditor and has to be paid after the debts of all other creditors have been paid in full, with interest, under the relevant provision. Paragraph 48(3) defines "relevant provision", and the amendment to paragraph 48(3)(a)--Amendment No. 52--corrects the unintended omission of the application of this definition in relation to the winding-up of a company to Scotland. I beg to move.
The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 52B, which seeks to remove subsection (3). The latter is a very convoluted provision regarding the potential movements of money, which seems to be completely unnecessary. We do not see why the movements of money that can result in arrest should be confined to movements to and from Northern Ireland, those in preparation to be moved to Northern Ireland, those in preparation to arrive here from Northern Ireland, or whatever.
If money is ill-gotten and "terrorist money", if I can use that phrase, and it happens to be on the move from A to B anywhere within this kingdom, it is reasonable for it to be apprehended and the necessary proceedings followed. That is the basis of our argument. I beg to move.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: I recognise the attractiveness of permitting cash to be seized anywhere, not just at borders. However, the seizure of cash is a significant interference with human rights. The Government need to ensure that they get the right balance--an expression I often use, but one which I believe describes the situation well. This has to be the case in the issue of civil forfeiture, such as provided for in Clauses 24 to 31. It is called "civil forfeiture" because forfeiture allows civil as opposed to criminal proceedings to take place. There is no need for someone to be convicted of a criminal offence. We are, therefore, proceeding in this area with some care and caution.
The cash-at-borders powers in Clauses 24 to 31 are modelled closely on those used in the Drug Trafficking Act 1994--legislation with which, no doubt, the noble Lord will be familiar. The main difference is in which borders are included. In the Drug Trafficking Act the powers apply only where cash is being imported into and exported out of the United Kingdom. In this Bill, the powers can also apply where cash is being transferred, say, from Northern Ireland to Great Britain or vice versa. We are not prepared in this Bill to go as far as permitting the seizure of terrorist cash other than at borders. That is because we are dealing with that issue, as I am sure the noble Lord is aware, in another context.
The third report of the Home Office working group on confiscation, published in November 1998, proposed a wide range of improvements to current law and practice. The working group recommended an in-depth study into the feasibility of a national
In collaboration with Her Majesty's Treasury and the Performance and Innovation Unit of the Cabinet Office, we have been working on a comprehensive package of measures in this area. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister will be publishing the report of the PIU study shortly. It will, I am sure, give much more detail on those proposals. Therefore, while we are using the opportunity of the Terrorism Bill to introduce civil forfeiture of terrorist cash at borders, modelled on the existing powers in the Drug Trafficking Act, to go any further at this stage would mean duplicating or perhaps cutting across the broader work that is of considerable importance in the wider sense of dealing with criminality. Options for civil forfeiture of terrorist cash other than at borders and of terrorist property other than cash are being considered as part of that much broader exercise.
With that reassurance, I trust that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment. We think that both amendments highlight a useful issue; indeed, it is something of which we are very aware and upon which we shall be publishing more details shortly. I hope that the Committee will be satisfied with my response.
Lord Molyneaux of Killead: In his response, the Minister used the words "at this stage". But in view of what has been said, the discussion we had in the debate on the political parties Bill, when we touched on a parallel problem of money shipment into Northern Ireland, and the Prime Minister's forthcoming statement, I hope that he has not entirely closed his mind to tightening up the draft legislation as it stands.
Lord Cope of Berkeley: The Minister's reply was extraordinary. It seemed to boil down to the idea that the Government intend to do what is suggested in our amendment but will do so on a much wider basis. That is what I gathered from reports in the press this morning. In other words, the Government will adopt a much wider approach but they are not prepared to act now. That seems odd when we have the Bill before us and the time is available.
Moreover, if I may say so, the Minister did not seem to put forward any argument as to why money should be seized when being moved from, say, Liverpool to Belfast, but not when being moved from London to Liverpool or, for that matter, from Belfast to Londonderry. It seems to me most odd that it is only when the money is being moved, or is being prepared to be moved, between Northern Ireland and Great Britain that it should be subject to seizure, and not when it is being moved within Great Britain or within Northern Ireland.
However, the Government clearly intend to return to this matter. We shall need to discuss it at a later stage in the Bill to discover the reasons why the measure is proposed in the first place and, secondly, to ascertain what the Government propose in agreeing with us as they appear to do.
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