"British Nationality Act 1981 (c. 61)

– in the House of Lords at 12:30 am on 14th October 2003.

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29A In section 46 of the British Nationality Act 1981 (offences and proceedings), in subsection (1) for "three months" there is substituted "51 weeks"."

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 22, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 266 agreed to.

Clause 267 [Increase in maximum term that may be imposed on summary conviction of offence triable either way]:

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

moved Amendments Nos. 219C and 219D:

Page 151, line 32, leave out from "exceeding" to end of line 41 and insert "12 months"

Page 152, leave out lines 4 to 8 and insert "12 months"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 267, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 268 [Enabling powers: power to alter maximum penalties]:

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

moved Amendment No. 219E:

Page 152, leave out lines 32 to 36 and insert "to 12 months".

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 268, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 23 [Enabling powers: alteration of maximum penalties etc.]:

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

moved Amendments Nos. 219F to 219J:

Page 296, leave out lines 32 to 40 and insert "twelve months"

Page 297, leave out lines 25 to 33 and insert "twelve months"

Page 298, leave out lines 7 to 15 and insert "twelve months"

Page 298, leave out lines 28 to 36 and insert "twelve months"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 23, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 269 [Increase in penalties for drug-related offences]:

On Question, Whether Clause 269 shall stand part of the Bill?

Photo of Baroness Walmsley Baroness Walmsley Liberal Democrat

I oppose the question that Clause 269 and Schedule 24 stand part of the Bill. They are all about changing the maximum sentences from five to 14 years for five Misuse of Drugs Act offences and two others. One is related to customs legislation and the other to ships used for illicit traffic.

We on these Benches have made our views on the issue very clear. Public policy should clearly differentiate between drugs in each of the three classes. Leaving aside the issue of whether it is appropriate to imprison people simply for possession of drugs for personal use, we should be careful not to give the same signals on penalties in relation to class C drugs as we give in relation to class A and B drugs.

I believe that at the root of this clause and schedule is the fact that the Government do not have the courage of their own convictions. On the one hand, they propose to reclassify cannabis as group C; on the other hand, they do not want to appear soft and are, therefore, increasing the penalties for the various offences almost threefold. The danger of the proposals is that there will be a very muddled policy, which will muddy the waters rather than give a straightforward message.

Clearly, dealing in class A drugs is an offence that should expect the harshest of treatment. Dealing in class B drugs is dangerous, but not quite as dangerous as it is with class A drugs. Class C drugs are still dangerous, but not nearly as dangerous as class B drugs. That is the basis of the classification system. If those are the messages that we want to give out to the general public, the maximum prison sentences should follow in graded severity. It is nonsense to increase the maximum prison sentence to what the statute book says could be the punishment for an offence so that it is comparable to a sentence for an offence relating to class A and B drugs. That makes a complete nonsense of the classification system.

The argument is not about whether there should be no prospective penal response but about the level of that response. Clearly, there are certain categories of people to whom society should give a discipline, such as a general practitioner who misuses his or her ability to prescribe, or to someone who not only turns a blind eye but becomes an aider and abetter of the use of drugs when running a hostel. However, there is a danger that people dealing in cannabis, benzodiazepine or anabolic steroids will prospectively be in the same league in terms of sentencing as those who deal in crack cocaine or heroin, which are much more dangerous drugs.

We on these Benches believe that it would be much better to remove Clause 269 and Schedule 24 and replace the schedule with a provision setting a maximum of perhaps four years, or a similar sentence. There is nothing cut and dried about that, but it would be a relatively appropriate maximum tariff given that the maximum sentence for trafficking in class A drugs is 14 years.

We are concerned that the penalty appears a disproportionate response to those using class C drugs. Class C drugs are thought to be the least serious category, so why should there be an almost threefold increase in the maximum punishment? We believe that the Government are saying one thing on the one hand then doing another, to be seen to be tough on drugs. That is quite illogical and sends out mixed messages.

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management) 12:45 am, 14th October 2003

Of course, I understand the anxiety expressed by the noble Baroness, but we do not believe that there is a mixed message. Those who use and abuse class C drugs and consume them themselves are treated firmly but with a deal of charity, understanding and therapy, and those who deal in drugs and are the purveyors of class C drugs fall into a different category. That is the distinction that is being made—if people traffic in drugs, we will treat them robustly. If people use and abuse drugs, they will fall into a different category.

The noble Baroness will know that what we must fight in this country is the scourge of those who peddle drugs outside our schools and our public places to increasingly younger children. We do not hesitate to make the distinction. In the case of young people of tender years who use and/or abuse class C drugs, there is a whole raft of things that we must do. We must educate them, help them, or restrain them. But for the purveyors of drugs, who wish to feed on the weakness and susceptibility of others, we send them a clear and different message. It is not a confused message, but a clear one. It involves saying, "For you we apply a very different strata".

The Government believe that a 14-year penalty for all class C drugs is needed, first, to deal with the small number of cannabis trafficking cases each year which attract sentences of 10 years or more. Those still exist. I am sure the noble Baroness will be aware of massive trafficking where people earn colossal amounts of money from purveying this drug which, as the noble Baroness rightly said, is still regarded as dangerous. In view of this, there is a strong argument for retaining the maximum penalty for trafficking cannabis at its current level of 14 years' imprisonment, post reclassification, so that the courts can continue to impose substantial sentences in those cases.

Secondly, although serious dealing offences in existing class C drugs—that is, anabolic steroids and the benzodiazepines—are exceptional, nevertheless the provision needs to apply to those class C drugs as well as cannabis because we need to send a clear message that trafficking in any illegal drug will be taken very seriously whatever its classification. Reducing the prevalence of drugs on our streets means that we must tackle the supply at all levels, including by legislative means. I know that the noble Baroness cares passionately about these issues and of the effort that she and a number of other noble Lords put in to try to deal with the needs of children who become subjected to this class and other classes of drugs. We share that passion.

Looking ahead, Schedule 24 will also help the United Kingdom to meet anticipated obligations to comply with measures currently set out in a draft European Union Council framework decision to harmonise drug trafficking penalties and to have maximum penalties of at least 10 years' imprisonment for serious drug trafficking involving any controlled drug where organised crime is involved. Since United Kingdom law does not differentiate between trafficking offences involving organised crime and those which do not—the courts take account of these factors in deciding the level of sentence—in order to satisfy our EU obligations we would need to increase the maximum penalty for trafficking in a class C drug at least to 10 years' imprisonment. Thank goodness we are getting much better at working together with our European and other partners and achieving a higher rate of interdiction than we had previously. It is pleasing to see the success that we have had in recouping substantial assets. We are demonstrating to these offenders that they will not profit from these offences.

I appreciate what the noble Baroness says about other offences but I remind her that if we look at the record for this year it is clear that significant cases have arisen. For instance, this very year a person was sentenced to five years and had to pay a confiscation order of #6,844. There is a bracket of traffickers at the lower end. That does not mean that the court cannot impose an appropriate sentence at the lower end.

As the noble Baroness knows, there is a big difference between someone who supplies a drug quite improperly to a series of friends and others who import drugs and are part of a serious gang. Those are very different categories. We must have an ambit of punishment within which the courts can make that differentiation and say to the international drug trafficker who seeks to take advantage of the weakness of others, "No, we shall not let you do that, and here is the punishment commensurate with your crime". We understand the concept of forgiving the sinner but we still do not like the sin.

Photo of Baroness Walmsley Baroness Walmsley Liberal Democrat

I thank the Minister for her response although I am still not convinced about the illogicality of having the same set of maximum sentences for trafficking all the different classifications of drugs. Of course we accept that drug trafficking is a very serious offence and should be dealt with very seriously, particularly when it concerns class A and B drugs. If we are to have a classification system, it is logical to have a classification of offences and sentences, too. However, I thank the noble Baroness for her response.

Clause 269 agreed to.

Schedule 24 agreed to.

Clause 270 [Increase in penalties for certain driving-related offences causing death]:

Photo of Lord Goldsmith Lord Goldsmith Attorney General, Law Officers' Department, Attorney General (Law Officers)

moved Amendment No. 219K:

Page 153, line 23, at end insert—

"(4A) Part I of Schedule 1 to the Road Traffic Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (S.I. 1996/1320 (N.I. 10)) (prosecution and punishment of offences) is amended in accordance with subsections (4B) and (4C).

(4B) In the entry relating to Article 9 of the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 (S.I. 1995/2994 (N.I. 18)) (causing death or grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving), in column 4, for "10 years" there is substituted "14 years".

(4C) In the entry relating to Article 14 of that Order (causing death or grievous bodily injury by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs), in column 4, for "10 years" there is substituted "14 years"."

Photo of Lord Goldsmith Lord Goldsmith Attorney General, Law Officers' Department, Attorney General (Law Officers)

Clause 270 increases the penalties available for certain driving offences in England and Wales. Amendment No. 219K, tabled in the name of my noble friend Lady Scotland, makes similar provision for two corresponding offences in Northern Ireland.

The actions of dangerous and irresponsible drivers that result in someone losing a life can be devastating not only for the victims and their families, but for whole communities. Clause 270 proposes an increase in the maximum penalties for offences in England and Wales of causing death by dangerous driving, death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, and aggravated vehicle-taking where as a result of the driving of the vehicle an accident occurs and death results. That provision implements the decision, announced in July 2002 in the Government's report of the review of road traffic penalties, to increase the penalties as soon as an appropriate legislative opportunity arose.

In Northern Ireland, the communities face the same grave difficulties with road traffic collisions as England and Wales. There is a high degree of concern, as Members of the Committee will know, at the unacceptably high number of deaths on the roads of Northern Ireland. As part of the commitment to improve both road safety and awareness of road safety issues, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has decided to increase the maximum available penalties there from 10 to 14 years for the offences of causing death or grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving, and causing death or grievous bodily injury by careless driving while under the influence of drugs or drink. Those are not exactly equivalent, but cover at least part of the same areas as Clause 270 does in relation to England and Wales.

That will send a clear signal to drivers in Northern Ireland of the seriousness with which the Government regard those types of behaviour, and will raise awareness of the terrible and eminently avoidable consequences. It will also give the judiciary in Northern Ireland wider powers to deal with offenders in a relevant and appropriate manner, allowing them to offer greater protection to the community and to increase public confidence in the criminal justice system. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 270, as amended, agreed to.

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

moved Amendment No. 220:

After Clause 270, insert the following new clause—

"INCREASE IN PENALTIES FOR OFFENCES UNDER SECTION 174 OF THE ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1988

(1) In Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (c. 53) (prosecution and punishment of offences), in the entry relating to section 174 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (c. 52) (false statements and withholding material information), for columns (3) and (4) there is substituted—

(a) Summarily (a) 6 months or the statutory maximum or both

(b) On indictment

(b) 2 years or a fine or both."

(2) Section 267(4) (increase in maximum term that may be imposed on summary conviction of offence triable either way) has effect in relation to the entry amended by subsection (1) as it has effect in relation to any other enactment contained in an Act passed before this Act.

(3) This section does not apply in relation to any offence committed before the commencement of this section."

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Conservative

The noble Baroness should speak to Amendments Nos. 220 and 256.

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

I beg the Committee's pardon; I thought that my noble and learned friend the Attorney-General had dealt with that. The amendments refer to the fraudulent obtaining of a driving licence—it is all coming back—and knowingly countersigning a false application for a driving licence, which are presently dealt with under Section 174 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of #2,500. That penalty does not recognise the potential use of the documents as gateways to organised crime and terrorism; rather they concentrate on the financial value of the document.

Amendment No. 220 raises the maximum penalty available to the court for an offence of fraudulently obtaining a driving licence to two years' imprisonment, aligning it with that available for an offence of fraudulently obtaining a passport. Noble Lords will know from earlier debates in other committees how important those issues are and how much use is made of those documents.

That increased penalty will more accurately reflect the reliance placed upon both documents by many organisations as evidence of identity. Fraudulently obtaining either document will incur a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment and will serve as a more effective deterrent than a fine or a short period of detention.

In speaking to the amendment, it would perhaps be convenient to speak also to Amendment No. 256 which would extend that increase in penalty to Scotland. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 271 [Minimum sentence for certain firearms offences]:

[Amendment No. 221 not moved.]

[Amendments Nos. 221A to 221D had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

On Question, Whether Clause 271 shall be agreed to?

Photo of Lord Thomas of Gresford Lord Thomas of Gresford Liberal Democrat

The removal of the clause would erase the firearms offences. Your Lordships will recall last New Year a terrible and tragic shooting in Birmingham which resulted in the death of two young girls. That was immediately followed by the promulgation of a minimum sentence for firearms offences.

I know the spot; I have seen it. It is close to a club in Birmingham where I was involved in another shooting incident some years ago. A person trod on somebody's foot in a bar and was invited out for a fight. When the other man raised his fists, he shot him. That resulted not in a five-year sentence, but in a very lengthy sentence for attempted murder. Where firearms are used in armed robbery, one would expect a sentence of 10 years. On the other hand, one would expect a sentence of rather less than five years in circumstances, which may well have occurred, where the police burst into a club and a gangster with a gun hands it to his girlfriend, who puts it in her handbag and is therefore in possession of a firearm. For her to serve five years for that momentary possession of a gun would seem to be quite beyond what is required.

We therefore come back to the problem which has recurred throughout our consideration of the Bill: why must we have minimum sentences? Instead of making a gesture because of a particular incident, why do the Government not rely simply on the sentencing practices of the judiciary, which would give far more than five years in appropriate cases, while in other cases it can easily be envisaged that very much less would be given?

There is an infinite variety. I wonder how many more times I will have to say that. I would be interested to hear the Minister's explanation of why, in this particular case, a minimum sentence is again required.

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

As the noble Lord has indicated, Clause 271 provides a mandatory minimum sentence for unauthorised possession of a prohibited firearm. That is a key part of the Government's strategy for tackling gun crime and the gun culture. Overall, gun crime remains relatively low. It makes up 0.4 per cent of all recorded crimes. However, we have seen an unacceptable rise in recent years. The terrible shootings recently in Nottinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire and Liverpool highlight the growing use of guns in crime. That is a disturbing trend which we are determined to reverse.

In 2001–02, firearms were used in more than 22,000 recorded offences in England and Wales. That is an increase of 27 per cent on the previous year. There were 97 fatalities and 558 serious injuries resulting from crimes that involved firearms.

Most gun crime is still criminal damage caused by air weapons, and the Government are addressing that problem with measures on the Anti-social Behaviour Bill, as your Lordships know. But we are also seeing an unacceptable rise in the use of handguns and light automatic weapons and more and more young people carrying or using imitation weapons to gain respect or intimidate others. In 2001–2, nearly 10,000 recorded crimes involved a firearm other than an air weapon—an increase of 35 per cent on the previous year. Handguns were used in 5,871 crimes—a rise of 46 per cent. Handguns are now used in 58 per cent of armed crime.

The noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, asks: why not leave it to the judges? We believe that Parliament has a role to play. Some of this rise is associated with gang culture, which is itself linked to the illegal drug trade. The Government are committed to tackling this, as noble Lords know. We want to deter criminals from using firearms and to ensure they receive appropriately tough sentences on conviction.

Clause 271 inserts a new Section 51A into the Firearms Act 1968, which provides a mandatory minimum sentence for unlawful possession of prohibited firearms. I must stress that this will not affect the maximum sentence in any way. That will stay at 10 years' imprisonment and courts will retain their discretion to impose sentences up to that maximum.

The minimum sentence will apply to offences under Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968. These include unlawful possession of handguns and automatic weapons, which are commonly used by criminals.

The minimum sentence will apply only to persons aged 16 or over at the time the offence was committed. The minimum sentence for persons aged 18 or over (21 or over in Scotland) will be five years' imprisonment. For offenders aged 16 and 17 (between 16 and 20 in Scotland) it will be three years' detention.

We want the minimum sentence to have the widest possible application. A court will be required to impose the minimum sentence in all cases unless there are exceptional circumstances relating to either the offence or the offender which justify not doing so. This exception is aimed at minor regulatory offences, such as where the holder of a firearms certificate inadvertently forgets to renew his authorities or where a war trophy is discovered in a deceased person's effects. The minimum sentence would be disproportionate in such cases. This measure is aimed at criminals who present a risk to public safety.

Public safety must be paramount. The situation that has led to the recent spate of shootings around the country must be met by effective action. Members of the Committee will know that the mean for these possession offences is not as high as the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, believes. It is by no means usual to find that an 18-month sentence for these offences is being imposed. We believe that this is an area which we need to address and this is an opportunity to do so. That is why Clause 271 is part of the Bill.

Photo of Lord Thomas of Gresford Lord Thomas of Gresford Liberal Democrat 1:00 am, 14th October 2003

I hear what the noble Baroness says. It seems to me that if an 18-month sentence is currently imposed, that is probably about right for the circumstances of the case, whatever it may be. Where criminals use guns, I do not believe that sentences under five years would normally be imposed. Indeed, the apparent draconian nature of the provision is weakened by the possibility of exceptional circumstances reducing the sentence. Not a great deal has therefore been gained. What is lost is the principle that minimum sentences should not be part of our sentencing policy in this country.

I have made my point and I do not propose to press the matter further.

Clause 271 agreed to.

Clauses 272 to 276 agreed to.

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

moved Amendments Nos. 221E to 221H:

After Clause 276, insert the following new clause—

"DURATION OF DIRECTIONS UNDER MENTAL HEALTH ACT 1983 IN RELATION TO OFFENDERS

(1) Section 50 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (c. 20) (further provisions as to prisoners under sentence) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1), for "the expiration of that person's sentence" there is substituted "his release date".

(3) For subsections (2) and (3) there is substituted—

"(2) A restriction direction in the case of a person serving a sentence of imprisonment shall cease to have effect, if it has not previously done so, on his release date.

(3) In this section, references to a person's release date are to the day (if any) on which he would be entitled to be released (whether unconditionally or on licence) from any prison or other institution in which he might have been detained if the transfer direction had not been given; and in determining that day there shall be disregarded—

(a) any powers that would be exercisable by the Parole Board if he were detained in such a prison or other institution, and

(b) any practice of the Secretary of State in relation to the early release under discretionary powers of persons detained in such a prison or other institution."" After Clause 276, insert the following new clause—

"ACCESS TO PAROLE BOARD FOR CERTAIN PATIENTS SERVING PRISON SENTENCES

In section 74 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (c. 20) (restricted patients subject to restriction directions) after subsection (5) there is inserted—

"(5A) Where the tribunal have made a recommendation under subsection (1)(b) above in the case of a patient who is subject to a restriction direction or a limitation direction—

(a) the fact that the restriction direction or limitation direction remains in force does not prevent the making of any application or reference to the Parole Board by or in respect of him or the exercise by him of any power to require the Secretary of State to refer his case to the Parole Board, and

(b) if the Parole Board make a direction or recommendation by virtue of which the patient would become entitled to be released (whether unconditionally or on licence) from any prison or other institution in which he might have been detained if he had not been removed to hospital, the restriction direction or limitation direction shall cease to have effect at the time when he would become entitled to be so released."" After Clause 276, insert the following new clause—

"DURATION OF DIRECTIONS UNDER MENTAL HEALTH (NORTHERN IRELAND) ORDER 1986 IN RELATION TO OFFENDERS

(1) Article 56 of the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 (S.I. 1986/595 (N.I. 4)) (further provisions as to prisoners under sentence) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph (1), for "the expiration of that person's sentence" there is substituted "his release date".

(3) For paragraphs (2) and (3) there is substituted—

"(2) A restriction direction in the case of a person serving a sentence of imprisonment shall cease to have effect, if it has not previously done so, on his release date.

(3) In this Article, references to a person's release date are to the day (if any) on which he would be entitled to be released (whether unconditionally or on licence) from any prison or juvenile justice centre in which he might have been detained if the transfer direction had not been given; and in determining that day any powers that would be exercisable by the Sentence Review Commissioners or the Life Sentence Review Commissioners if he were detained in such a prison or juvenile justice centre shall be disregarded."" After Clause 276, insert the following new clause—

"ACCESS TO SENTENCE REVIEW COMMISSIONERS AND LIFE SENTENCE REVIEW COMMISSIONERS FOR CERTAIN NORTHERN IRELAND PATIENTS

In Article 79 of the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 (S.I. 1986/595 (N.I. 4)) (restricted patients subject to restriction directions) after paragraph (5) there is inserted—

"(5A) Where the tribunal have made a recommendation under paragraph (1)(b) in the case of a patient who is subject to a restriction direction—

(a) the fact that the restriction direction remains in force does not prevent—

(i) the making of any application or reference to the Life Sentence Review Commissioners by or in respect of him or the exercise by him of any power to require the Secretary of State to refer his case to those Commissioners, or

(ii) the making of any application by him to the Sentence Review Commissioners, and

(b) if—

(i) the Life Sentence Review Commissioners give a direction by virtue of which the patient would become entitled to be released (whether unconditionally or on licence) from any prison or juvenile justice centre in which he might have been detained if the transfer direction had not been given, or

(ii) the Sentence Review Commissioners grant a declaration by virtue of which he would become so entitled, the restriction direction shall cease to have effect at the time at which he would become so entitled.""

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clauses 277 and 278 agreed to.

Schedule 25 agreed to.

Clause 279 [Fine defaulters: driving disqualification]:

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

moved Amendment No. 222:

Page 159, line 22, leave out from "produce" to end of line 23 and insert—

"(a) any such licence held by him together with its counterpart; or

(b) in the case where he holds a Community licence (within the meaning of Part 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (c. 52)), his Community licence and its counterpart (if any)."

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

Clause 279 re-enacts with appropriate modifications the fine default provisions of the Crime (Sentences) Act. Where, under this clause, a court disqualifies a person from holding or obtaining a driving licence, it must require him to produce any British driving licence held by him. Amendments Nos. 222 and 223 ensure that we cover Community driving licences as well as British ones. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

moved Amendment No. 223:

Page 159, leave out lines 27 and 28 and insert—

""counterpart"—

(a) in relation to a driving licence, has the meaning given in relation to such a licence by section 108(1) of that Act; and

(b) in relation to a Community licence, has the meaning given by section 99B of that Act."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 279, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 280 agreed to.

Clause 281 [Sentencing: repeals]:

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 281, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 282 agreed to.

Schedule 26 [Amendments relating to sentencing]:

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

moved Amendments Nos. 224 to 225:

Page 302, line 29, leave out paragraph 4.

Page 305, leave out lines 23 to 36.

Page 306, line 6, leave out from "from" to end of line 8 and insert ""to be dealt with" onwards there is substituted "or the Crown Court to be dealt with under—

(a) Part 2 of Schedule 3 to the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 (breach of certain youth community orders), or

(b) Part 2 of Schedule 7 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (breach of requirement of community order).""

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

moved Amendment No. 225A:

Page 308, line 42, at end insert—

:TITLE3:"Repatriation of Prisoners Act 1984 (c. 47)

39A The Repatriation of Prisoners Act 1984 is amended as follows.

39B In section 2 (transfer out of the United Kingdom), in subsection (4)(b), for sub-paragraph (i) there is substituted—

"(i) released on licence under section 28(5) of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 or under section 235 or 236 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003; or".

39C In section 3 (transfer into the United Kingdom), subsection (9) is omitted.

39D (1) The Schedule (operation of certain enactments in relation to the prisoner) is amended as follows in relation to prisoners repatriated to England and Wales.

(2) In paragraph 2, for sub-paragraphs (1A) and (2) there is substituted—

"(2) If the warrant specifies a period to be taken into account for the purposes of this paragraph, the amount of time the prisoner has served shall, so far only as the question whether he has served a particular part of a life sentence is concerned, be deemed to be increased by that period.

(3) Where the prisoner's sentence is for a term of less than twelve months, Chapter 6 of Part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 shall apply as if the sentence were for a term of twelve months or more.

(4) In this paragraph— "the enactments relating to release on licence" means section 28(5) and (7) of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 and Chapter 6 of Part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003; "sentence", means the provision included in the warrant which is equivalent to sentence.".

(3) Paragraph 3 is omitted."

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

All the amendments in this group are technical. I know that some noble Lords may want to hear a word about Amendment No. 230. That amendment clarifies the reference to community orders in Section 1 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000. It also places the new suspended sentence order, under which offenders undertake requirements in the community, under the provision describing the role of the national probation service.

I believe that I wrote about these amendments to noble Lords who participated in the Committee stage. If it is not in the Library, a copy of that letter will be placed there for noble Lords' further consideration if they would find that of use. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

moved Amendments Nos. 226 to 230:

Page 309, line 8, leave out paragraph 42 and insert—

"42 In section 36 (reviews of sentencing), in subsection (2), for the words from "erred in law" onwards there is substituted—

"(a) erred in law as to his powers of sentencing; or

(b) failed to impose a sentence required by—

(i) section 51A(2) of the Firearms Act 1968;

(ii) section 110(2) or 111(2) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000; or

(iii) any of sections 216 to 219 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003."" Page 311, line 17, at end insert—