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Crime Reduction Strategy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 29th November 1999.

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Photo of Mr Patrick Nicholls Mr Patrick Nicholls Conservative, Teignbridge 3:30 pm, 29th November 1999

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it will be critical to the success of his strategy—we all hope that it will be successful— that those who are guilty are convicted? Will he, therefore, agree to look again at the rule that states that a jury may not, except in exceptional circumstances, be entitled to know about the previous convictions of the person appearing before them? Was it his experience in the past as a barrister, as it was mine as a solicitor, that sometimes juries look on in stark disbelief when they have acquitted someone as they realise that he is to be dealt with for offences to which he has already pleaded guilty and for which he has previous convictions? I accept that the Home Secretary cannot revisit that territory immediately, but will he agree to do so, in the context of his strategy?