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Baroness Amos: My honourable friend the Parlimentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Bill Rammell, has arranged for copies of the second annual report by Rabinder Singh QC, the Independent Monitor for Entry Clearance Refusals, to be laid before the House today. Her Majesty's Government welcomes Mr Singh's report and notes his comments and suggestions, which will receive careful consideration.
Mr Singh has not sought to extend his appointment beyond 30 November 2002 and the Minister thanks Mr Singh for all his hard work and dedication during his two years as Independent Monitor for Entry Clearance.
Baroness Amos: Ian Stillman was arrested in India on 28 August 2000 and charged with possessing approximately 20 kilogrammes of drugs. He was convicted on 2 June 2001 and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment. The Indian Government offered Mr Stillman clemency and he was released on compassionate and health grounds on 7 December 2002. A condition of his early release was that he leaves India. It is a matter for the Indian Government whether he is allowed to return.
We have been extremely active on Mr Stillman's case and raised it with the Indian Government at every available opportunity. Over the last year my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary discussed his case with the Indian Ministers on at least six occasions. Recently he raised it with the Indian Deputy Prime Minister, L K Advani on 21 August 2002 and the Indian Foreign Minister on 31 October 2002. Mr Advani said that if Mr Stillman submitted a clemency plea he would consider it sympathetically. The Foreign Secretary met members of Mr Stillman's family to discuss next steps in the case on 19 November 2002.
Our consular staff in New Delhi and London have done all they can to help Mr Stillman and his family. We have been in close contact with the latter both in the UK and from time to time in India. As Foreign Office Minister responsible for consular matters I also took a close interest in the case and met members of Mr Stillman's family twice this year.
We took all proper measures to ensure that the Indian authorities were meeting Mr Stillman's welfare requirements during his imprisonment. Consular staff monitored his welfare closely through consular visits (generally every 3 months) and by keeping in regular touch with his family. We were instrumental in ensuring improvements to many aspects of his detention. These included helping him to be transferred to a prison with better conditions and facilities, ensuring that he was provided with a wheelchair and had better lighting in his cell. Consular staff arranged for a board of medical consultants to examine him at a hospital in May 2002 and also helped secure permission from the prison authorities for medical and prosthetic specialists to visit him in prison. Recently they helped arrange for a diabetic specialist to visit Mr Stillman on 4 November.
We are very glad that Mr Stillman's case has been resolved. We hope his early release will result in a significant improvement in his health. The Foreign Secretary met the Indian Foreign Minister, Yashwant Sinha, in London on 11 December, and expressed his thanks to Mr Sinha and his colleagues in the Government of India for the compassionate action they had taken in securing Mr Stillman's release.
The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): The reviewing committee's annual report for 200102 has been published today and copies have been laid before Parliament.
The criminal law already contains a wide range of powers to deal with violent behaviour and harassment. This includes, under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, the ability for courts to issue higher sentences to perpetrators of crimes motivated by hate.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), working with the Government, have developed guidance for police forces in dealing with these types of crime. This guidance is entitled Identifying and Combating Hate Crime and was last updated in April 2002.
To solicit or incite another to commit a crime (through, for example, homophobic song lyrics) is indictable under common law, even if the solicitation or incitement has no effect. Therefore a crime would not actually need to be committed to convict people of incitement to violence against homosexual people.
Under broadcasting arrangements, responsibilty for what is broadcast on television and radio rests with the broadcasters and the broadcasting regulatory bodies - the Governors of the BBC, the Independent Television Commission (ITC), the Welsh Fourth Channel Authority (S4C) and the Radio Authority (RAu). They are independent of the Government and accountable for safeguarding the public interests in broadcasting. They also maintain guidelines for programme makers on the standards which should be observed. In respect of song lyrics, the RAu code makes specific reference to song lyrics and the need for considered judgments to be made by licencees with regard to scheduling certain tracks. The code rules involving the portrayal of violence, in that it must never be glorified or applauded, apply to programming generally as does the 1990 Act requirement that nothing shall be included that is likely to encourage or incite to crime or lead to disorder.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Government are committed to involving Parliament more formally in the process of creating sentencing guidelines than in the past, while leaving the final decision on the content of these guidelines to the proposed Sentencing
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Deputy governors are appointed with the responsibilty to manage a prison in the governor's absence. Although occasionally in 2002 there have been gaps between the departure of a governor and the appointment of a successor, I believe there has been, at most, a negligible effect on the regime during these periods. The Prison Service has no plan to re-employ retired governors to manage establishments. However, the Prison Service has been using the skills of several retired governors to act as mentors, providing guidance and advice for operational senior managers.
What is the total number of speeding fines imposed by Merseyside Police Force in (a) 2001 and (b) 2002 to date.[HL553]
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The table shows the total number of fines ordered to be paid following conviction for speeding offences within Lancashire and Merseyside police forces for 2000. As the majority of such offences are dealt with by the issue of a fixed penalty, the table also shows the total number of fixed penalty notices issued. Information for 2001 will be available early in 2003.
|Court ProceedingsNumber of Fines||Fixed PenaltiesNumber of Tickets|
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