Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 3rd March 2008.

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Photo of Lord Thomas of Gresford Lord Thomas of Gresford Spokesperson in the Lords (Shadow Attorney General), Home Affairs 6:15 pm, 3rd March 2008

The noble Lord is right to say there may be circumstances where an association between homosexuality and paedophilia is made that do not amount to a threat, as we would think of it. However, it can very easily be a threat, as I am sure the noble Lord understands and accepts. The protection from prosecution on the basis to which the noble Lord referred is that the consent of the Attorney-General is required to a prosecution. Clearly, the innocent discussion to which he referred would not form the basis for a prosecution to which the noble and learned Baroness the Attorney-General—whom I am pleased to see in her place—would respond.

There is a problem to be dealt with because, as the noble Lord rightly says, the association between homosexuality and paedophilia may not be a threat in itself but it can be. It is for the Attorney-General to decide on the facts of a case whether it should be the subject of a prosecution.