Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill - Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 29th October 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Immigration) 5:45 pm, 29th October 2018

My Lords, I have Amendments 12 and 13 in this group. The JCHR accepts that technology has moved on since 2000 but has expressed concern that viewing material online without any associated harm was an unjustified interference with the right to receive information. It was concerned too that the defence of reasonable excuse does not provide an explicit safeguard for legitimate activity. The noble Lord has rehearsed the history of this clause, and the Government’s current position, having excluded the three clicks provision, provides that a reasonable excuse includes but is not limited to situations where,

“the person did not know, and had no reason to believe”,

and so on. We are not reassured that there will be adequate protection for legitimate conduct, so we have proposed Amendment 12, on intention,

“to commit or encourage acts of terrorism”.

At the end of Committee, we will have to collate all the references to intention and recklessness to see whether each of us has been consistent in our arguments, which we may not have been. We want to insert a mens rea of intent.

Amendment 13 adds the phrase,

“the person has viewed the material in a way which gives rise to a reasonable suspicion that the person is viewing that material with a view to committing a terrorist act”.

If that wording sounds familiar, we have just been through it in Clause 2, so I refer the Minister to my argument then in defence of adding these words.