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Offence of Sending Letters etc. with Intent to Cause Distress or Anxiety

Part of Orders of the Day — Malicious Communications Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:38 am on 8th July 1988.

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Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight , Derby North 9:38 am, 8th July 1988

That is not strictly correct. The Bill was debated in Committee of the whole House and I urged my hon. Friend the Member for Sherwood to move further up the scale than level 3. In reply, the Minister of State, Home Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Mr. Patten) said: The sending of a malicious communication certainly causes distress to the recipient, but we must not make the penalty out of proportion to the gravity of the offence and out of proportion to other offences already on the statute book. The penalty at level 3 is the same as that for broadly similar offences under the Telecommunications Act 1984 and Public Order Act 1986. Both my hon. Friend the Member for Sherwood and my hon. Friend the Minister of State declined to go further, despite my entreaties. They said that level 3 was in line with other measures on the statute book. As the other place took a similar view to that which I expressed in Committee, I am taking this opportunity to push my hon. Friend the Member for Sherwood a little further. When he has listened to the arguments, I hope that he will agree to give some ground. If he is not prepared to go all the way and accept my amendment, I hope that he will at least agree to accept the Lords amendment.