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 Bingham of Cornhill Lord Bingham of Cornhill Crossbench 4:15 pm, 20th January 2000

I respond in three ways. First, the suggestion which was criticised by my noble and learned predecessor contained no right of appeal. I hope I have made it plain that I attach some importance to that ingredient. Secondly, I hope that anyone who heard what I said will be left in no doubt whatever that I draw no distinction between the fairness of trial at the two levels.

However, I recognise that perceptions matter in these cases. There are instances where it will be important, from the defendant's perception of such matters, that he should be entitled to challenge the evidence of the policeman, or whatever it is, before a jury. That is the kind of consideration to which magistrates and circuit judges will pay attention. I hope that the noble Lord will recall that I expressed a lack of affection for the criteria set out in the proposed Clause 19.