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 Goldsmith Lord Goldsmith Attorney General, Law Officers' Department, Attorney General (Law Officers) 4:45 pm, 30th October 2003

My Lords, I am happy to say that the noble Viscount is absolutely right, as was the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, if I may respectfully say so. What is bizarre about the amendment is what is proposed because it is not what the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, has described. By virtue of the Division that has just taken place, Clause 47, which I was trying to take out of the Bill, remains in the Bill. That defines "terminating ruling" as,

"a ruling by a judge of the Crown Court . . . which, if given effect to, will, without any further action by the prosecution, result in the termination or stay of proceedings for the offence, or one or more of the offences, including the indictment".

The proposal made by the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, in Amendment No. 70A is to insert:

"Nothing in this Part shall apply to terminating rulings".

Therefore, the effect of the amendment is not restricted to no case to answer or to no case to answer submissions which are the second limb of Galbraith. It is to take out of prosecution right of appeal the most important element of rights of appeal; that is, rulings by the judge that the case should come to an end.

I had understood that the noble Lord recognised the technical deficiencies of his amendment and therefore would not be moving it, but I am plainly wrong. However, the amendment will not achieve what he is saying, for the reasons I gave previously and which have been eloquently put by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, and the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, as being in any event bad.