Criminal Justice

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 27th February 1997.

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Photo of Michael Howard Michael Howard The Secretary of State for the Home Department 3:32 pm, 27th February 1997

I am grateful to my hon. Friend: there is much in his second point. At the moment, a number of serious offences that would undoubtedly have a considerable effect on someone's reputation are triable only summarily. Assault on a police officer is not an offence that gives rise to a right to trial by jury. The consequences of such an assault could be extremely serious, yet it is a summary only offence. Many serious offences with serious consequences for defendants do not have an automatic right to jury trial. We should weigh that in the balance when we make a final decision on the proposal.