Prosecution Policy

Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th March 1988.

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Photo of Mr Greville Janner Mr Greville Janner , Leicester West 12:00 am, 14th March 1988

To ask the Attorney-General when he next expects to meet the Director of Public Prosecutions to discuss matters relating to prosecution policy.

Photo of Mr Greville Janner Mr Greville Janner , Leicester West

When the hon. and learned Gentleman sees the Director of Public Prosecutions, will he please discuss once again the question of the Director's failure to prosecute the perpetrators of "Holocaust News". In that context, does the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that it is monstrous that the law is too weak to allow people who are stirring Fascist and racist ill will in this decent country to be brought to book?

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Solicitor General (Law Officers)

I advise the hon. and learned Gentleman that this matter has been considered with great care, not only by the Director's office, but by the Directcr himself, with the benefit of advice of senior Treasury counsel, and by both Law Officers. Having regard to all the material factors, including the nature and effect of the defences likely to be open to and relied on by the defendants, the likelihood or otherwise of a conviction, and the circumstances as a whole, it is not thought appropriate to prosecute.

Photo of Mr William Powell Mr William Powell , Corby

When my hon. and learned Friend meets the Director of Public prosecutions, will he draw to his attention a "Today" radio programme of a few weeks ago in which it was asserted that a number of abortions are being carried out in this country because the parents do not wish to give birth to a baby girl? The programme said that baby girl foetuses are being aborted. Does my hon. and learned Friend agree that that is a most serious allegation, involving crime? Will he ensure that the DPP carries out a thorough investigation and that those who are alleged to be involved are brought before the courts?

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Solicitor General (Law Officers)

I quite understand what my hon. Friend says. It is most important to emphasise that any evidence that is available should go straight to the police.

Photo of Mr Alex Carlile Mr Alex Carlile , Montgomery

When the hon. and learned Gentleman next meets the DPP, will he express his concern at the increasing acquittal rate in the Crown courts, which shows one of two things: either too many innocent people are being prosecuted, or cases are being underprepared by the prosecution, or possibly both? Does he recognise that there remains the problem that the starting salaries for new recruits to the Crown Prosecution Service simply do not compare with salaries in the private sector?

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Solicitor General (Law Officers)

I cannot accept that there are any reliable trends that are capable of yet being established. As to the second part of the hon. and learned Gentleman's question, that matter is under close consideration.