Criminal Justice Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 30th October 2003.

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Photo of Lord Kingsland Lord Kingsland Conservative 4:45 pm, 30th October 2003

My Lords, I am not sure what the consequences of the last vote are for this amendment, but I shall speak to it. The noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General has already expressed some views about what I am about to say. He will no doubt add further ones when I conclude. I shall be brief.

Amendment No. 70A would exclude from the definition of "terminating ruling" in the Bill decisions by the trial judge of no case to answer. In our view, those decisions are of a particular and specific character because they involve by the trial judge a view uniquely and solely of the facts of the case and of the evidential support for those facts. When a trial judge considers a proposal of no case to answer by prosecuting counsel, he is looking at both the evidence given by the prosecution witnesses and their demeanour while giving it. If there is some evidence under the Galbraith rule, he will seek to determine whether it is so slender or far fetched as to be wholly valueless.

It is almost inconceivable that the Court of Appeal Criminal Division would be in a position to second-guess the trial judge about such an exercise of discretion. In those circumstances, the decisions by the trial judge of no case to answer should be excluded from the Bill. I beg to move.