Criminal Justice Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 30th October 2003.

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Photo of Lord Borrie Lord Borrie Labour 5:45 pm, 30th October 2003

My Lords, I follow my noble friend Lord Corbett in two senses of the word. I am following him in that I am speaking after him and I also follow him in the trend of the argument. I was somewhat surprised that my noble friend Lord Clinton-Davis thought that the arguments of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, were unanswerable. I found them persuasive—it would be surprising if I did not find any arguments coming from the noble and learned Lord persuasive—but they did not give all the story, as it were. Perhaps one reason we have not had all the story from the noble and learned Lord, or those who follow his argument, is that we are dealing with this matter right at the beginning of this group of clauses. My noble friend Lord Corbett has done a service by emphasising that, with no retrospectivity at all, the set of clauses will include a requirement to demonstrate new and compelling evidence to justify any retrial and—I am not sure that he emphasised this—establish that it is in the interests of justice. I forget which clause mentions the interests of justice but that would cover, among other matters, the concern of the amendment, which is to deal with retrospectivity.

I am not one of those who thinks that, in every case that could come within the clauses, simply because the trial was in 2001 rather than 2004 there would be no hand on the shoulder. Therefore, I follow a great deal of the argument put by my noble friend Lord Corbett. Given what has to be established under the clauses to get a retrial, let alone the right of appeal if a retrial is granted, there are many safeguards. As subsection (6), with which the amendment deals, will apply to very few cases, we should not accept the amendment.