New Clause 20 — Grave exceptional terrorist threat

Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 12:32 pm on 11th June 2008.

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'(1) In this Act "grave exceptional terrorist threat" means an event or situation involving terrorism which causes or threatens—

(a) serious loss of human life,

(b) serious damage to human welfare in the United Kingdom, or

(c) serious damage to the security of the United Kingdom.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(b) an event or situation causes or threatens damage to human welfare only if it causes or threatens—

(a) human illness or injury,

(b) homelessness,

(c) damage to property,

(d) disruption of a supply of money, food, water, energy or fuel,

(e) disruption of a system of communication,

(f) disruption of facilities for transport, or

(g) disruption of services relating to health.

(3) The event or situation mentioned in subsection (1)—

(a) may occur or be inside or outside the United Kingdom, and

(b) may consist in planning or preparation for terrorism which if carried out would meet one or more of the conditions in that subsection.'.— [Jacqui Smith.]

Brought up, and read the First time

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Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Home Secretary 12:43 pm, 11th June 2008

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

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Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Amendment (a) to the proposed new clause, in subsection (1), leave out from 'which' to end and insert

'amounts to a public emergency threatening the life of the nation, in accordance with Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights.'.

Government new clause 21— Power to declare reserve power exercisable

Government new clause 22— Report of operational need for further extension of maximum period of detention

Government new clause 24— Notification of chairmen of certain committees

Government new clause 25— Statement to be laid before Parliament

Government new clause 26— Parliamentary scrutiny

Government new clause 27— Parliamentary scrutiny: prorogation and adjournment

Government new clause 28— Duration

Government new clause 29— Independent review and report

Government new clause 30— Amendment to the Civil Contingencies Act 2004

Government new clause 32— Independent legal advice

New clause 1— Extension of detention under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000

'(1) The Terrorism Act 2000, Schedule 8, Part III (extension of detention under section 41) is amended as follows.

(2) After sub-paragraph (6) of paragraph 29 (warrants of further detention) there is inserted—

"(7) Nothing in this Part is to be read as requiring the judicial authority to act in a manner inconsistent with the right of the specified person to a fully judicial procedure in Article 5(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights.".

(3) After sub-paragraph (d) of paragraph 31(notices) there is inserted—

"(e) a statement of the suspicion which forms the basis for the person's original arrest and continued detention, and

(f) the gist of the material on which the suspicion is based.".

(4) Before sub-sub-paragraph (a) of sub-paragraph 32(1) (grounds for extension) there is inserted—

"(aa) there are reasonable grounds for believing that the person has been involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of a terrorist offence,".

(5) Sub-paragraph (1) of paragraph 33 (representation) is deleted and there is inserted in its place—

"(1) The person to whom an application relates shall be entitled—

(a) to appear in person before the judicial authority and make oral representations about the application,

(b) to be legally represented by counsel at the hearing,

(c) to legal aid for such representation,

(d) to be represented by a special advocate at any closed part of the hearing of the application, and

(e) through his representative, to cross examine the investigating officer.".

(6) After sub-paragraph (3)(b) of paragraph 33 there is inserted—

"if the judicial authority is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the exclusion of the person and/or his representative is necessary in order to avoid any of the harms set out in sub-paragraphs (1) to (g) of paragraph 34(2) below."'.

New clause 2— Lower threshold for charging in terrorism cases—

'(1) When deciding whether there is sufficient evidence to charge a person with an offence having a terrorist connection, a Crown Prosecutor may apply the "Threshold Test" for charging if the conditions in subsection (3) below are satisfied.

(2) The "Threshold Test" for charging is met where there is at least a reasonable suspicion that the suspect has committed an offence having a terrorist connection.

(3) The conditions which must be satisfied for the Threshold Test to apply are—

(a) it would not be appropriate to release the suspect on bail after charge;

(b) the evidence required to demonstrate a realistic prospect of conviction is not yet available; and

(c) it is reasonable to believe that such evidence will become available within a reasonable time.

(4) The factors to be considered in deciding whether the Threshold Test of reasonable suspicion is met include—

(a) the evidence available at the time;

(b) the likelihood and nature of further evidence being obtained;

(c) the reasonableness for believing that evidence will become available;

(d) the time it will take to gather that evidence and the steps being taken to do so;

(e) the impact the expected evidence will have on the case;

(f) the charges that the evidence will support.

(5) Where a Crown Prosecutor make a charging decision in accordance with the Threshold Test, the person charged shall be immediately informed of the fact that they have been charged on the standard of reasonable suspicion.

(6) When the person charged on the Threshold Test is brought before the Court it shall be the duty of the Crown Prosecutor to inform the Court of that fact.

(7) The Court shall set a timetable for the receipt of the additional evidence and for the application of the normal test for charging as set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

(8) The Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service shall report annually on the operation of the Threshold Test in terrorism cases.'.

New clause 3— Bail for terrorism offences—

'(1) The Terrorism Act 2000, Schedule 8, is amended as follows.

(2) After paragraph 37 there is inserted—

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