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Lord Thomas of Gresford: I have an objection in two parts. The first part relates to the practicalities of these provisions. That an acquittal anywhere in the world can be "appealed", to use the noble and learned Lord's expression, in this country is extraordinary. He has told us that the reason Scotland is not included in these provisions is that it has no intention of abolishing the rule on double jeopardy. I have not heard that any of the common law countries have decided to abolish that rule, and it seems to me impractical to put the acquittals in other countries under the spotlight.
Secondly, if there is no reciprocityif no one else throughout the world is going to follow this line and say that an acquittal in the United Kingdom is not good enough and that they will investigate an offence all over againwhy should we start down that road? I entirely support the amendment.
Lord Goldsmith: The noble Baroness asked me a number of questions and I must indicate straightaway that I shall have to write to her in relation to a number of them. I am afraid that I do not have the answers at my fingertips. She is right in saying that I took part in the proceedings in this House on the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill, and exciting though it was I cannot immediately recall all the details which she thinks I should be able to recall.
The noble Baroness asked what is the state of the discussions that have taken place with other countries in relation to the potential operation of this clause. Those discussion are continuing, but I would like to
Secondly, the noble Baroness is right to say that the application of extradition rules will be important in practical terms, because if the person in relation to whom a retrial is sought is not present in this country, extradition must be used in order to bring that person within the jurisdiction of the court. Again, I will have to write to her on the operation of those rules, with copies to other noble Lords who have taken part in the debate.
The noble Lord, Lord Thomas, raised an objection of principle. Remember this, I would say: at present, the courts of this country are justified and entitled to try a serious criminal matter where there is evidence for that to be done. It is accepted that in certain cases the fact that a person has been acquitted in another country of the same offence may constitute a bar. In cases where it does not constitute a bar, at present such a charge could be brought in the courts of this country.
While special devolution provisions relate to Scotland and while practical issues may arise, such as extradition rules, the Government have taken the view that if there is evidence of such a serious offence of a new and compelling kindwe shall discuss in due course where the line should be drawn as to what is a serious offence for these purposesthen justice would suggest that the case should be tried. It should not matter that the acquittal took place in another country rather than in a court in this country.
However, so far as concerns Amendments Nos. 133T and 133U, I hope that the explanations that I have given, together with my promise of further explanations, will satisfy the noble Baroness sufficiently and that she will not press the amendment today.
Lord Carlisle of Bucklow: Subsection (4) appears to be most extraordinary. As I understand it, it gives a power totally dissimilar to anything that we have previously had in criminal law in this country. Do I understand correctly from what the Minister said that
Lord Goldsmith: The noble Lord adds at the end "on the basis of new evidence". The whole of Part 10 is directed at permitting in particular caseswe shall come to what those are and what the safeguards arethe authorisation of a further investigation. With the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions an application is to be made to the Court of Appeal to determine whether or not, because there is new and compelling evidence and because the interests of justice so requireas I said, we shall come to all those safeguardsthe case should be tried again.
This clause states that if that can be doneif the conditions are satisfied and if, in the view of the Court of Appeal, the interests of justice require that to be donewhere the acquittal took place in Maidstone, so also should it be capable of happening if the acquittal had taken place in Lyons or in some other place in another country in the world. In my respectful view, there is nothing astonishing about that. The same principle is being applied whether the acquittal took place in this country or somewhere else. But the strong safeguards will still apply.
I emphasise that Clause 69(4) applies only in circumstances where the offence is one for which the courts here have jurisdiction; for example, in the case of murder alleged to have been committed by a British citizen abroad. That could have been tried here. In the example given, it has not been tried here; it has been tried in France or wherever. Had it been tried here, the provisions of Part 10 would apply so that a retrial could be ordered if the conditions were made out. The fact that it could have been tried here but has not beenit has been tried somewhere elseshould not prevent it from being the subject of an application under this part. The final words of Clause 69(4) are,
Lord Thomas of Gresford: The noble and learned Lord referred to a very interesting point. The crimes of universal jurisdiction in which a British citizen is the defendant are piracy, genocide and murder. That is one reason why subsequent amendments will seek to confine this power to a limited degree. Does it mean, for example, that a person who has been acquitted of murder while serving in the Armed Forces in Germany
Lord Goldsmith: The noble Lord is now getting into the question of what are the conditions. We shall come to those. The requirement under Clause 72 is for new and compelling evidence. We shall come to what that means. We shall also turn to the fact that the interests of justice test to be applied takes into account certain matters. In Clause 73(2)(c), the question of interests of justice is to be determined having regard in particular to whether certain evidence,
I am very happy to consider the specific example the noble Lord gives and to come back on that. I just take issue with the proposition that there would be anything other than the full rigour of the conditions set out in Part 10, which would apply wherever the acquittal had taken place.
Lord Carlisle of Bucklow: If a person was convicted of murder in France and acquitted under French law, and there was new evidence, does that mean that there would then be a power to apply to retry him in this country under English law? On what basisI know we shall turn to these conditions laterwould that court know whether the evidence was genuinely new evidence available in another country at the time of the original trial?
Perhaps I may make my position clear to the Attorney-General. I actually support the principle behind Part 10 and said so at Second Reading. However, I think that one must consider whether it is appropriate to use it in cases where the original trial has not taken place in this country.
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