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Lord Goldsmith moved Amendment No. 60:

(1) Section 75 (duty on public authorities to have regard to need to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between different groups) and section 76 (discrimination by public authorities) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (c. 47) are amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (3) of section 75, after paragraph (cc) insert—
"(cd) the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland;".
(3) After subsection (4) of that section insert—
"(4A) The references in subsections (1) and (2) and Schedule 9 to the functions of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland do not include any of his functions relating to the prosecution of offences."
(4) In subsection (7) of section 76, after paragraph (e) insert—
"(ea) the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland;".

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(5) After that subsection insert—
"(8) This section does not apply to a decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland not to institute, or to discontinue, criminal proceedings or, where such a decision has been made, to any act done for the purpose of enabling the decision whether to institute or continue the proceedings to be made or for securing that the proceedings are discontinued.
(9) No injunction may be granted in respect of a contravention of this section by the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland unless the court is satisfied that it would not prejudice any decision to institute criminal proceedings or any criminal proceedings.
(10) Where a party to proceedings for a contravention of this section applies for a stay of those proceedings on the ground of prejudice to a decision to institute criminal proceedings, or of prejudice to particular criminal proceedings, the court must grant the stay unless it is satisfied that continuance of the proceedings for the contravention would not result in the prejudice alleged.""

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, during Grand Committee, the noble Lord, Lord Desai, drew to our attention the issue of whether the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions should be designated under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act. I am grateful to him for raising that point. A similar amendment had been tabled in another place by the honourable Member for Newry and Armagh in respect of designation for both Section 75 and 76 purposes.

As noble Lords will be aware, Section 75 places a statutory duty on bodies to,

    "have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity",

between groups within the nine categories of people set out in the Northern Ireland Act. It also requires them to,

    "have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group".

Section 76 makes it unlawful for a body to discriminate on the grounds of religious belief or political opinion.

In response to the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Desai, I explained that the Government kept the list of bodies subject to designation continuously under review. We thought it right that as many bodies as possible should be subject to such duties but that we needed first to consider the consequences that designation might have on bodies such as the prosecution service.

I drew attention to the fact that a decision to prosecute must be made independently and based on the facts alone, as I am sure all noble Lords will agree. While we supported the idea of designation in principle, we needed to give careful thought to how the independence and integrity of the director and the prosecution process could be maintained.

As I told noble Lords who participated in the debate in a letter last week, I am pleased to say that we have made good progress in looking at that issue. I am grateful to the Director of Public Prosecutions and his colleagues, who have played a significant role in working through these issues. The progress has been such that we are now in a position to use the Bill as a vehicle for designating the Director of Public

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Prosecutions for the purposes of both Sections 75 and 76, rather than waiting to do so through another vehicle.

We have identified certain limited safeguards which will give the protections necessary to ensure the continuing independence of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the even-handedness of the prosecution process. With those safeguards in place, these duties can now be accepted.

So far as concerns Section 76, what we have done is essentially to replicate the exceptions that are made for the English and Welsh Crown Prosecution Service, which is subject to a similar statutory duty in respect of race relations.

There is no exact equivalent to Section 75 for the English and Welsh Crown Prosecution Service, but we have applied the same principle of safeguarding the prosecution process. That is done by seeking in both cases to put the prosecution process into a different category.

For the absence of doubt, I should make it clear that the obligation under Sections 75 and 76 will apply to the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to the recruitment of public prosecutors. That is an important part of what the amendment is designed to achieve.

In Grand Committee, I said that the normal vehicle for designating bodies under Section 75 was a designation order. But, as I hope noble Lords will agree, the benefit that we have by bringing this forward is that, by using the Bill before us, we are able to include the exceptions to which I have referred, and for the reasons I have identified. That makes it sensible to bring this proposal forward at this stage. I hope that noble Lords will agree that this is a beneficial amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden: My Lords, it seems to me that the exceptions that have been explained to us by the noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General are sensibly drafted. They are certainly necessary, and I am reassured by the fact that apparently Sir Alasdair Fraser, the DPP for Northern Ireland, is entirely content with them. I believe this to be a very satisfactory amendment.

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, I wish my remarks to be treated as being generous and not to be misunderstood. The noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General was not present at another part of the Grand Committee proceedings where I alluded to the slowness with which these issues were addressed in terms of Section 75 at an earlier stage of the period after the Belfast agreement. I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord for the phrase "under continuous review". At that stage, "continuous review" appeared to some of us to be bordering on eternity. On this

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occasion, eternity has been swept away. It has been done extremely briskly, and I congratulate the Government on having done it.

Lord Desai: My Lords, I thank my noble and learned friend for taking on some issues that I raised in Grand Committee.

Lord Goldsmith: My Lords, I can only thank the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew, and the noble Lords, Lord Brooke and Lord Desai, for welcoming the amendments. I am very glad to have managed to achieve something which appears to produce such favour in the House.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 45 [Functions of Chief Inspector]:

Lord Glentoran moved Amendment No. 61:

    Page 27, line 2, leave out from "of" to end of line 17 and insert "all organisations in possession of criminal investigatory powers"

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we have come rather late at night to a part of the Bill which I view as especially important. Perhaps progress on it is slightly unclear. If it is, that is probably my fault. I was hoping—perhaps hope against hope—that after Grand Committee the Government might come forward with an amendment to solve the problems. I sensed that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Privy Seal agreed—I apologise if I am wrong—that, to put it politely, the functions of the chief inspector in Clause 45 need a little work. They need tidying up. I sensed that Members on all sides of the House, including the Government, felt that the list was not complete. Perhaps it could not be complete. I had hoped that we might be able to include an all-encompassing clause with examples, as has happened elsewhere in the Bill. Amendment No. 61, which would add,

    "all organisation in possession of criminal investigatory powers",

was drawn up after much thought, not just by myself, but by some rather brighter brains down the corridor.

Unless the Government are inclined to table their own version, I would rather reserve the main thrust of the debate and any decisions on the amendment until Third Reading. To some extent this depends on what the Government want to do. I have said that I have no intention of dividing the House tonight, but I wish to be in a position to press the amendment on Third Reading if we cannot reach an accommodation before then.

Unless the noble Baroness or the noble and learned Lord the Lord Privy Seal tell me that it will not be possible, I feel that we can go forward on the issue before Third Reading. I know that there are sensitivities relating to the police ombudsman and others and I know that Mr Des Browne from the other place has done some work behind the scenes. If noble Lords in the Unionist party agree, I would prefer not

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to press the amendment tonight. If the Government wish to come in, far be it from me to stop them. I beg to move.

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