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The noble Earl said: The only point that I make about this amendment is a very simple one; namely, that when the Home Secretary thinks that someone has done something wrongthe mythical Mahommed al-Smiththe judge has to say how long he will stay inside or how long the order not to visit his friends will apply. In other words, a term is set upon his punishment. Noble Lords will probably say that it is not punishment, but to him it will be punishment. It surely must go against all principles of justice, freedom and reason that someone can simply be locked up or deprived of or restricted of his liberty for an indefinite period. To me that is completely unsatisfactory. I beg to move.
Lord Kingsland: I should like to say very briefly in support of my noble friend Lord Onslow that, listed with Amendment No. 63, is Amendment No. 93, which goes even further than Amendment No. 63. It would require the High Court to set the limit on all derogating control orders. When we come to Amendment No. 93, if the Committee is inclined to vote, it seems to me that that amendment of my noble friend Lord Onslow is perhaps preferable to the one that the noble Lord has just moved.
The Earl of Onslow: I am totally at the convenience of the Committee. I do not know whether the Committee would like to discuss Amendments Nos. 63 and 93 together as a principle. I accept that Amendment No. 93 goes further than Amendment No. 63 but the principle is in effect the same, which is that the amount of time that an order applies to someone should be set by a judge and for a defined period. I do not know whether the Committee would like to discuss Amendment No. 93 now or when we reach it. I am completely at the disposal of the Committee.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Amendments Nos. 63 and 93 are grouped. Therefore, I respectfully suggest that it makes sense for me to respond to the amendment moved by the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, bearing in mind that no other Member of the Committee has risen in that regard.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: How could I have not noticed the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland? I humbly beg his pardon. I meant no other Member of the Committee than a Front Bench Member. I tend to be dismissive of both our Front Benches as not really being the true contributors to a debate until a Member of the Back Benches rises.
The time frame which was given for both these orders accepts the reality that it is likely that they would have to be in being for some time. Bearing in mind the nature of the behaviour which is contemplated, it would be reasonable to suppose that a period of six months or 12 months would not be an unreasonable period,
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particularly bearing in mind that it would be open to the person against whom such an order was made to make application on the basis of any change in circumstance. We accepted that if these control orders were made, they should not be open-ended. The time limits that we have set out of six months and 12 months would appear to be the most reasonable in all the circumstances.
The Earl of Onslow: But still it is open to the Minister to allow the person to whom the control order is applied not to know the overall length of how long he is being either deprived of or having his liberty limited. That cannot be right. It is what double jeopardy was put into place to stopallowing people to go on playing what I believe used to be called "cat and mouse" orders in Ireland; that is, locking people up, then releasing them, then locking them up again, then releasing them and then locking them up. It is quite unsatisfactory. However, there is so much which is unsatisfactory about this Bill that I suppose it is asking too much to try to get one small part put right. I note that not many other Members of the Committee wanted to speak to this amendment. However, I see that someone now wishes to do so and therefore I shall sit down.
Lord Tebbit: I am grateful to my noble friend. I have every sympathy with what he is aiming at but I wonder about the practicalities of the matter. What circumstances would change to make it safeif it had been unsafeto let such an individual who had an order made against him out on to the streets again? For example, according to the Irish justice Minister, who is a significant figure, Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness are members of the Army Council of the IRA. I should have thought that would give rise to reasonable grounds for suspicion that they were associated with terrorist activities. If the Irish Minister is right, that has been the case for many years. Presumably, one would not want just to take them in for a few months and then let them back out on to the streets again, where, according to the Irish justice Ministerwe do not know about these thingsthey might be involved in plotting anything from a murder to a bank robbery. Therefore, my noble friend might wonder whether he is absolutely right on this occasion.
The Earl of Onslow: I shall have a very small bet with my noble friend Lord Tebbit that the one thing that the Government will not do is put a derogation order or a non-derogation order on anyone who they think might have the slightest connection whatever with the Irish situation. That is another reason why this Bill seems to me a bad Bill in that it will be used extremely selectively against people who are considered weak enough to have these draconian rules applied to them. However, having said what I have said, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The Explanatory Notes accompanying the Bill make it clear that the intention is that the control orders will be tailored to the particular risk posed by the individual concerned. The risk in some cases will be greater than in others and presumably last for different periods of time. To ensure that the orders are proportionate, the Law Society of Scotland suggests that consideration should be given to the length of time it is considered necessary to have an order in existence to meet the risk posed by the individual. It may not be necessary to have all orders lasting for the full period of 12 months. This amendment allows for this degree of flexibility.
Amendment No. 96 probes the relationship between Clause 4(2) and Clause 4(1)(c) of the Bill. These concern the duration of derogating control orders. Clause 4(1)(c) states that a derogating control order cannot be renewed. However, Clause 4(2) then provides that the Secretary of State can make a new control order to the same effect for a further period of six months on the basis of the same information upon which the original order was founded. This would appear to have the same effect as a renewal order. This amendment therefore probes the relationship between these two provisions. I beg to move.
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