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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 20th January 2000.

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Photo of Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws Labour 5:30 pm, 20th January 2000

I hope that the noble and learned Lord will give way so that I may ask him the following question. Does he not consider it a risk that if magistrates were to take his advice and decide that if young black persons before them asked for a trial and said that they thought that they would be unfairly treated by magistrates, and that one got from that an increase in the number of black people having trials, that would set up the very thing that one would also not want, which is a feeling among white people that there was a privileged position for ethnic minorities? I should have thought one would find that ethnic minorities do not want that because they know that it would backfire on their communities. Therefore there are inherent risks in what the noble and learned Lord is suggesting. What he is pointing up is the very problem which those of us who are concerned about this Bill have sought to address.