Criminal Justice (Mode of Trial) Bill [H.L.]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 20th January 2000.

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Photo of Lord Hutchinson of Lullington Lord Hutchinson of Lullington Liberal Democrat 4:15 pm, 20th January 2000

Before the noble and learned Lord sits down, will he help the Committee on this matter? The general view of the Government which appears in the Bill is that if a person's reputation or employment is in danger, they should be entitled to trial by jury. If that is so, does it not mean that the view is that they will have a fairer trial before a judge and jury than before the magistrates? There will be less chance of a miscarriage of justice when the matter is of such serious import.

The noble and learned Lord's predecessor was against that suggestion on the ground that the implication would necessarily be that there would be two tiers of justice. That would be against the fundamental principle of equality before the law.