Criminal Justice Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 30th October 2003.

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Photo of The Bishop of Worcester The Bishop of Worcester Bishop 7:15 pm, 30th October 2003

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General for giving way. The puzzle I have—and it seems to be a paradox of his position—is that the higher the hurdles which this case has to jump, that is to say the more stringent the tests applied by the Court of Appeal, the more likely it seems that members of a jury will feel that this case has been incredibly carefully investigated by enormously learned persons. Therefore, they would need extremely good reasons to dissent from the judgment of the appeal judges.

Perhaps the noble and learned Lord will explain the matter if I have it wrong. To me, the issue is not one of publicity; it is not the issue of reporting; it is simply the issue of the fact that this case will have been so carefully assessed by the Court of Appeal, which has judged the evidence to be new, compelling, and not to do with sloppy investigation and all the other aspects the noble and learned Lord has, I am sure, quite correctly and sincerely, outlined. How will members of a jury put that out of their mind and come to the question fresh?