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COMMONS AMENDMENT

2Clause 1, page 1, line 15, leave out subsection (2).

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 2. I spoke to this amendment when dealing with Amendment No. 1.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 2.—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

3After Clause 1, insert the following new clause—
"CODES OF PRACTICE
In section 27 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 (c.32) (codes of practice on exercise of functions) for subsection (2) substitute—
"(2) Before issuing or revising a code of practice under this section, the Secretary of State shall consult the Board with a view to obtaining its agreement to the proposed code of practice or revision.
(2A) Before issuing or revising a code of practice under this section, the Secretary of State shall also consult—
(a) the Chief Constable;
(b) the Ombudsman;
(c) the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission;
(d) the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland; and
(e) such other persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.""

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 3. I spoke to this amendment when dealing with Amendment No. 1.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 3.—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

[Amendments Nos. 3A to 3C not moved.]

On Question, Amendment No. 3 agreed to.

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COMMONS AMENDMENT

48Clause 37, page 22, line 33, at end insert—
"(2A) No order may be made under section (Independent members: declaration against terrorism)(6), (Independent members: disqualification)(2) or (Belfast)(2) unless a draft of the statutory rule containing the order to be made has been laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House."

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 48. I spoke to this amendment when dealing with Amendment No. 13.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 48.—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

AS AN AMENDMENT TO COMMONS AMENDMENT NO. 48

48ZALine 3, leave out "or (Belfast) (2)" and insert ",(Belfast)(2) or (Appointment of constables with special policing skills)(7)"

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I beg to move manuscript Amendment No. 48ZA as an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 48. I spoke to this amendment when dealing with Amendment No. 13.

Moved, That Amendment No. 48ZA, as an Amendment to Commons Amendment No. 48, be agreed to.—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

Lord Rogan: My Lords, I think I understood the Lord Privy Seal to say on two occasions that matters would be brought back to this House before enactment. Will he confirm that orders will be laid before Parliament only after acts of completion?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, yes.

On Question, Amendment No.48ZA agreed to.

AS AN AMENDMENT TO COMMONS AMENDMENT No.48

48ALine 5, at end insert—
"(2B) No order may be made under section (Independent members: disqualification)(2) or (Belfast)(2) at any time when section 1 of the Northern Ireland Act 2000 (c. 1) (suspension of devolved government) is in force."

Lord Smith of Clifton: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 48A as an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 48. I spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 13.

Moved, That Amendment No. 48A, as an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 48, be agreed to.—(Lord Smith of Clifton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

On Question, Commons Amendment No. 48, as amended, agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

49Page 22, line 35, after "section", insert "(Independent members: declaration against terrorism)(6), (Independent members: disqualification)(2), (Belfast)(2), (Protected disclosures by police officers)(4),"

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I beg to move

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that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 49. I spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 13.

Moved, That, the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 49.—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

AS AN AMENDMENT TO COMMONS AMENDMENT No.49

49ALine 2, after "(Belfast)(2)," insert "(Appointment of constables with special policing skills)(7),"

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 49A as an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 49. I spoke to this with Amendment No. 13.

Moved, That Amendment No. 49A, as an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 49, be agreed to.—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

On Question, Commons Amendment No. 49, as amended, agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

50Clause 38, page 22, line 40, after "repeals", insert "and revocations"

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 50, to which I spoke with Amendments Nos. 13 and 24.

Moved, That, the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 50.—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

51Clause 40, page 23, line 5, leave out subsection (2).

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 51.

Amendment No. 51, as your Lordships will have readily detected, deletes the privilege amendment introduced in this House on Third Reading.

Moved, That, the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 51.—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

54Schedule 3, page 34, line 29, at beginning insert—
"Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (S.I. 1996/1919 (N.I. 16)) In Article 243(1), the words "Part VA,"."
55Page 34, line 30, at end insert—
"Public Interest Disclosure (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (S.I. 1998/1763 (N.I. 17)) Article 16."

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56Page 34, line 37, after "Schedule 1," insert "in paragraph 3(7)(b), the word "or" immediately preceding sub-paragraph (iii), in paragraph 10(1)(b), the word "or" immediately preceding sub-paragraph (iii) and"
57Page 34, line 39, at end insert—
"2 The revocations in the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 and the Public Interest Disclosure (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 have effect in accordance with section (Protected disclosures by police officers)(4) above."

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 54 to 57 en bloc, to which I spoke with Amendments Nos. 15 and 24.

Moved, That, the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 54 to 57 en bloc.—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2003

5.44 p.m.

Lord Williams of Mostyn rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 24th March be approved.

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, we conducted a cross-cutting review of the criminal justice system in 1997. Eighteen proposals for reducing delay and improving service delivery in the criminal system in Northern Ireland came about. Most of those have been taken forward.

In a sense, the order is a portmanteau of provisions which will, individually and collectively, improve the workings of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland. They relate to arrangements for bail, time limits for the initial stages of proceedings, the law on sexual offences, public order and some less important issues.

There has been wide consultation. The draft order was laid before the House on 19th December for consultation; responses received were generally supportive.

The proposals on bail mirror to a large extent existing law in England and Wales, and bring certain aspects of Northern Ireland's bail processes into line with those in England and Wales. They will ensure that bail serves its purpose of allowing those accused of offences to be free of custody while at the same time ensuring that they turn up for trial, do not commit other offences and do not interfere with witnesses. There will therefore be a new offence of absconding on bail; new powers for the police to arrest without warrant those who are unlikely to surrender to custody or who break their bail conditions; and to set conditions on the grant of bail. Finally, the courts' discretion as to whether recognizances should be forfeited or not will be removed. This will help to ensure that people released on bail turn up at court or a police station as required.

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On time limits, we wish to reduce the amount of time it takes for cases to pass through the formal criminal justice system. Statutory regulations have been in place in England and Wales since 1987. Targets were introduced in Northern Ireland; we think we should take legislative provision to establish time limits. We need to strike a balance between the timely disposal of cases and the need to allow proper time for the development of cases. We are also aware of the potential risks if people held in custody awaiting trial are released virtually automatically.

There are no immediate plans to introduce time limits, but we will have further consultation about the precise nature and scope of any time limits before any regulations are made.

On sexual offences, there are four main changes. Article 18 amends the law on rape with the effect that men and boys may be the victims of rape. Article 19 brings the law on heterosexual anal intercourse into line with that on homosexual activity by decriminalising such behaviour in private between any persons of or over the age of consent. Article 22 increases the penalty for indecent conduct against a child from two to 10 years' imprisonment. Article 23 abolishes the presumption that a boy under 14 is incapable of sexual intercourse. This is a fair framework for the prosecution of criminal offences.

The order also includes a number of miscellaneous provisions. I draw your Lordships' specific attention to riotous behaviour. The maximum penalty at the moment is six months on summary conviction. I think most people think that that is not sufficient. Riotous behaviour is not an arrestable offence. This makes police activity very difficult in riotous situations. We therefore propose an increase in the maximum penalty to one year and to make the offence arrestable.

There are other changes: for instance, amending summonses; pleas of guilty in the magistrates' court where the accused does not appear; lengthening the period of remand; and allowing the use of live television links, which has been successfully piloted in England.

I am confident that we are introducing arrangements compatible with the Human Rights Act. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 24th March be approved.—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)


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