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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 20th January 2000.

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Photo of Lord Williams of Mostyn Lord Williams of Mostyn Attorney General, Law Officers' Department 6:30 pm, 20th January 2000

I suppose I should not have attempted to be the ventriloquist.

These are serious issues. I have never put the matter before your Lordships on the basis of cash savings being fundamental. I adhere to what I said at Second Reading. I am talking about resource. The resource of which I am speaking is the delivery of justice. The delivery of justice is not a personal interest of the defendant alone. It is an interest of the prosecutor and of the complainant. It is a fundamental interest to the whole of our community. Our community is entitled to say to us, "Of course the defendant has his personal interest", which I recognise--I have defended year in and year out, as well as prosecuted. If we delay trials because of material in the system which does not need to be there at all--I am not being dismissive when I say "material in the system"; I am using that term statistically--we are fundamentally derelict in the duty that we should be discharging in the general public interest. That is the resource I have in mind and that is the justice to which I am referring.