The amendments were added to the Bill in another place to strengthen further the provisions aimed at those people who deliberately involve themselves in activities intended to provide finance for terrorism. That objective has been widely reported in this House and also in another place.
The combined effect of the amendments is to provide that any offence which is charged as a result of the use by authorised investigators of the new powers set out in clause 57 and schedule 5 of the Bill should be both scheduled offences —that is, triable before a non-jury court —and relevant offences—that is, offences, convictions for which will count for the purpose of attracting the confiscation provisions in part VII and schedule 4 of the Bill.
Amendment No. 1 simply inserts a definition of the new scheduled offence into schedule 1 of the Bill as a new part IV to that schedule. Amendment No. 20 contains the context of that new part IV. The definition is provided by reference to a certification by an officer of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, not below the rank of superintendent. That officer will certify as to a question of fact that the offence is one charged in consequence of a terrorist fund investigation. The definition in those terms is necessary because the pre-trial procedures for scheduled and non-scheduled offences are different, and there must be some measures by which the magistrate can be informed that an offence which might not look like a scheduled offence is such an offence.
Amendments Nos. 9 and 10 provide that any offence which is tried as a scheduled offence, by virtue of the amendments to which I have just referred, will be a relevant offence, as defined in clause 49.
The amendments were widely welcomed in another place. They are intended to ensure that those people who wilfully involve themselves in activities which generate finance for terrorism, and often in profit for themselves, can more effectively be brought to justice, and I commend them to the House.