Unopposed Bill Committee Minutes of Evidence

Sections 500-519

London Local Authorities Bill [HL]

Tuesday 18 February 2003

500. Clause 35, Application of London Local Authorities Act 2000. This clause could be described as doing a Hillingdon belatedly. For their own reasons, the London Borough of Barnet refrained voluntarily from joining in the promotion of the last London Local Authorities Act, and this clause brings them into the fold. Similarly, Kensington and Chelsea wanted to be omitted from the benefits of one of the clauses in that Bill, enabling enforcement of parking contraventions by remote camera. They have clearly seen that benefits can be derived from that clause.

501. My Lords, finally, Clauses 36 to 41. I was not intending to take you through these in detail. They are all miscellaneous clauses which have been promoted in all of the recent London Local Authorities Bills, but I am willing to answer any questions that you have on them.

502. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Has anybody got any questions?

503. LORD ELTON: I have two small points. In Clause 34, if somebody gives a wrong name and address how is the summons delivered? Since it is presumably delivered to the wrong name and address.

504. MR BLACKWELL: It is not delivered at all, if he gives an address which we cannot serve at. If he gives a false name and address then it is served by post, and in many cases ----

505. LORD ELTON: Presumably to the wrong address? So he will not get it.

506. MR BLACKWELL: Yes, and quite often in the wrong name. What that means is that we are prosecuting people who do not exist time and time again. With these provisions - at first blush they seem rather odd - we do have repeat offenders coming back time and time again. Once we know what their true name is they can then be charged or summonsed with offences of failing to give their correct name and address in the first instance.

507. MR LEWIS: At a later stage, because we do know what their actual name and address is.

508. CHAIRMAN: You know exactly who these people are.

509. MR BLACKWELL: Eventually, yes.

510. LORD ELTON: In 39, Defence of due diligence, subsection (2) there is a requirement to disclose the defence before it is made. I thought it was rather standard practice to disclose all defences before they were made. I am not a lawyer, I can be wrong. If there is anything like that why is this particular offence being singled out or mentioned?

511. MR BLACKWELL: Can I deal with your first point first, there is not a requirement upon all defendants to disclose their defence, it is a staged approach. In the Magistrates Court after the prosecutor has given disclosure of any information that he has that is detrimental to the prosecution case on pleading not guilty the defendant has the option of disclosing his defence in the Magistrates Court. In the Crown Court it is compulsory.

512. In relation to the second question I will need to consider it.

513. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. That brings today's proceedings to an end. If I am right then all we have to deal with tomorrow are the two contentious clauses on dog walking ­­

514. MR LEWIS: That is not so contentious it just happens to be a clause that is dealt with by Wandsworth.

515. CHAIRMAN: ­­ and the powers of parks constables. What was the other one?

516. MR LEWIS: Dog walking was the other one, it is not a contentious clause it is just that the witnesses were not available today.

517. CHAIRMAN: Right.

518. LORD ELTON: Will we be receiving the views of the Metropolitan Police on the powers of parks constables?

519. MR LEWIS: It was not my intention to call anyone from the Metropolitan Police. There will be a representatives from the Parks Police Force in Wandsworth, who are not part of the Met, he is a parks constable employed by Wandsworth and he will probably be able to answer questions on relations with the Metropolitan Police.

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