Criminal Justice Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 30th October 2003.

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Photo of Lord Goldsmith Lord Goldsmith Attorney General, Law Officers' Department, Attorney General (Law Officers) 6:15 pm, 30th October 2003

My Lords, that still does not contravene, in any way, Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It is not concerned with changes in procedural rules, but with prosecuting someone principally for something which simply was not an offence at the time that it was committed. I am sorry that the noble and learned Lord thought that I did not give him a satisfactory answer on the previous occasion. I believe that I did address this issue as a matter of principle. It is not contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights. As a matter of justice, while recognising the strength of the arguments the other way, the Government take the view that where compelling new evidence comes forward, it is just that people who have committed crimes should be subject to the possibility of a retrial.

There are important safeguards. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew of Twysden—