New Clause 45 — Limit on Period of Detention Without Charge of Suspected Terrorists

Part of Criminal Justice Bill — [3rd Alloted Day] – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 20th May 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Beverley Hughes Beverley Hughes Minister of State (Citizenship and Immigration), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism) 6:15 pm, 20th May 2003

As I have said, for people detained under the Terrorism Act 2000, the procedures involved in interview sessions, and the conduct of those sessions, will be governed by PACE code C. No difference in procedure is involved there, and I am awaiting clarification in respect of my hon. Friend's question as to whether solicitors always have to be present. My hon. Friend may be aware that, in cases such as we are discussing, some differences exist between schedule 8 of the 2000 Act and PACE code C in connection with legal advice, how quickly it has to be provided, and so on. However, in general terms, all the provisions in respect of interview sessions and conduct will continue to be governed by PACE code C.

In addition, the provisions covering the responsibilities of the senior investigating officer and the custody officer remain the same. The senior investigating officer constantly has to review developments as the investigation goes on in order to satisfy the overarching obligation in paragraph 37 of schedule 8 to the 2000 Act, which demands that the police must constantly assure themselves that the two criteria for detention, of which the court must be satisfied, continue to be met.

In addition, at each change of shift by the custody officer—that is, every 8 to 12 hours—a recorded welfare interview is carried out to ensure that the prisoner is in good health, requires no medical assistance, and that everything is as it should be. There is therefore no difference between the conditions for people detained under the terrorism provisions and those for people detained under criminal procedures.

My hon. Friend asked whether a solicitor would always be present. I am advised that the solicitor can be excluded from interviews only during the first 48 hours, as provided under section 41 of the 2000 Act. The solicitor is present during any period of extension after the 48 hours.

I hope that I have answered the questions posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South. I commend Government new clause 45 to the House.