Clause 152 — Restriction on issue of arrest warrants in private prosecutions

Part of Alcohol Marketing – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 30th March 2011.

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Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice 6:45 pm, 30th March 2011

If the hon. Lady will forgive me, I will not give way; time is short.

I raised such a risk in questioning the DPP, but he made it clear in his evidence that

“the decision is the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions, taken independently.”

He added that consultation between the DPP and the Attorney-General, which is regular,

“acts as no inhibition on the independence that I would bring to the decision. At the end of the day, the decision is mine, it is independent and it is reviewable.”––[Official Report, Police Reform and Social Responsibility Public Bill Committee, 20 January 2011; c. 124-130.]

As my hon. Friend Dr Huppert pointed out, the DPP also said that there are powerful public interest reasons to prosecute in a case that has satisfied the evidential threshold.

The necessity for the provision has been questioned on two grounds. It is said that the sort of people whom it is designed to safeguard are already covered by immunity. Although this is true of some of the visitors against whom arrest warrants have been sought in the past, it is not true of all. Immunity from criminal jurisdiction applies to certain Ministers, and warrants have been sought against Ministers not covered and those who are not Ministers at all.