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Crime: Sexual Offences

Baroness Massey of Darwen asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Data showing the number of defendants aged 10 to 17 found guilty of all offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, in England and Wales and Northern Ireland from 2004 to 2006 are in the table below.

The England and Wales statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

Data for Scotland in the years 2004-05 to 2006-07 (data in Scotland are published per financial year) show there have been two persons aged 10 to 17 with a charge proven in Scottish courts under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2003; these were both in 2006-07.

Number of defendants aged 10 to 17 found guilty at all courts for all offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, England & Wales and Northern Ireland, 2004 to 2006(1)(2)(3)
England and Wales

2004

2005

2006

165

464

464

Northern Ireland

2004

2005

2006

-

-

1

Crime: Treason

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Treason is a criminal offence under the Treason Acts 1351, 1702 and 1842; and the Treason Felony Act 1848. The maximum penalty for the offences in the 1351, 1702

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and 1848 Acts is life imprisonment. The maximum penalty for an offence under the 1842 Act (an offence of injuring or alarming the Sovereign) is seven years. The penalty for high treason is set out in the Treason Act 1814, as amended by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Cybercrime

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The requested information is not collected centrally. Police recorded crime data does not differentiate whether crime has been committed in an “e-crime” environment.

The national crime recording standard (NCRS) and Home Office counting rules (HOCR) are the nationally agreed mechanisms for police to record crime. They are both publicly available documents that can be accessed at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/countrules.html.

Forces return data according to the rules laid out in the Home Office counting rules, but there is not a requirement to separately identify whether this was a result of an “e-crime”.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: The Government are committed to ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, which we signed in 2001.

The UK needs to bring in a number of pieces of domestic legislation before it can ratify the convention. The domestic legislation will be in place in October and that will meet the commitments of the convention. The UK will then initiate the process for formally ratifying the convention. We intend to complete that by the end of 2008.

Diplomatic Relations: US and Iran

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The Government are in close contact with the Government of the US in addressing the challenges posed by Iran's nuclear programme and her

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regional actions. The US is a member of the E3+3 group of countries. However, US-Iran bilateral contacts are a matter for the US Government.

Discrimination

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The Government's view is that our existing legislative framework is broadly compliant. If a similar situation as occurred in the European Court of Justice case of Firma Feryn1 occurred in the UK, our wider domestic law provisions would provide suitable enforcement remedies for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

In GB, the EHRC is empowered with various enforcement powers under the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Equality Act 2006 in respect of discriminatory advertisements, discriminatory practices and in circumstances where it thinks a person is likely to commit an unlawful act. We are considering how best to take account of the full implications of the judgment in preparation of the forthcoming Equality Bill. The Bill will provide an opportunity to clarify the position in the context of wider harmonisation and simplification proposals.

Egypt: Religious Freedom

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The Government do not routinely make representations to the Egyptian Government regarding the detention of Muslim Brotherhood members, but last did so in February 2008 in the run up to the Egyptian provincial elections.

However, we engage in regular dialogue with the Egyptian authorities regarding human rights issues and will continue actively to raise specific cases of concern with the Egyptian authorities whenever appropriate.



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Fishing

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): In 2007 it is estimated that Scottish vessels discarded a total of 55,703 tonnes of cod, haddock, whiting and saithe in the North Sea and west of Scotland. This represents 51 per cent of total catch of these species. However, many other species are landed which are not monitored for discards purposes.

We have no information on the amount discarded in all European Union waters, nor do we have information on the amount discarded by European Union vessels elsewhere. This is because there is no comprehensive up-to-date estimate of European discards.

Food: Pork and Bacon

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is implementing the public sector food procurement initiative by ensuring its purchase of pork and bacon products are from approved suppliers that represent best value for money and hold farm assurance accreditation. Accreditation requires suppliers to meet objectives in farm animal management, environment and hygiene management, feed composition, housing and handling facilities, medicines and veterinary treatments and transport of livestock.

All of the pork purchased is bred in the UK and sourced through an established British supply chain. All of the bacon purchased is sourced from Denmark, as it is high quality and represents best value for money. However, the bacon is cured and processed in the UK.

Our supplier reviews its purchasing policy, in conjunction with our catering agent, every six months.



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Galileo Satellite System

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The European Parliament report has no legal standing and its views do not necessarily reflect those of member states. While Galileo's open service, like that of the global positioning system, can be accessed by all and therefore could be used by military forces, Galileo remains a civil programme under civil control.

Health: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Lord Carlile of Berriew asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The National Service Framework for Mental Health describes the evidence base for the effectiveness of psychological therapies for a range of conditions, including people with severe mental illness. The National Offender Management Service has no plans to use computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to support programmes that address offending behaviour.

Primary care trusts are responsible for commissioning an appropriate range of health services for their prison populations. Some prisons use computerised CBT, but the decision to do so is taken locally, taking account of the facilities and resources available.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence published guidance in 2002 on computerised CBT and this includes recommendations concerning its effectiveness.

House of Lords: Appointments

Baroness Seccombe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The Prime Minister announced on 28 July that Lord Jay of Ewelme GCMG will succeed Lord Stevenson of Coddenham CBE as chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission with effect from 1 October 2008.



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Lord Jay has been selected in accordance with the code of practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The code requires openness and transparency, independent scrutiny of the appointments process and appointment on merit. In keeping with the Government's commitment to increase parliamentary scrutiny of key public appointments, Lord Jay appeared before the Public Administration Select Committee on 22 July in a pre-appointment hearing. The committee concluded that Lord Jay has the professional competence and personal independence required for the post and supported his appointment. Copies of the committee's report are available from the Library of the House.

House of Lords: Letters Patent

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The effect of Letters Patent creating peerages can he changed by legislation which has that specific effect. It cannot be changed by legislation of general application. Thus, the Peerage Act 1963 allowed Peeresses in their own right to sit in the House of Lords regardless of the terms of any Letters Patent creating the peerage. The House of Lords Act 1999 removed the right of anyone to sit in the House by virtue of a hereditary peerage unless they were specifically excepted from the provisions. Conversely, the House of Lords decided in 1922 in the case of Viscountess Rhondda that the terms of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 were not sufficiently specific to allow her to take her seat in the Lords when her Letters Patent allowed her to inherit the peerage, but not the seat in the Lords. I am aware of only one case in which the effect of individual Letters Patent has been changed by Act of Parliament, which is that of the Duke of Marlborough in 1706.


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