Victims of Crime: Mobile Phone Data - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:29 pm on 8th May 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development) 3:29 pm, 8th May 2019

First, I commend the noble and learned Lord. Despite his efforts the other day, he was not able to get in when I answered the Urgent Question—or it may have been a Statement. However, he has now asked his Question and I am able to focus on it. He is absolutely right to raise the issue of consent. The JSC does not specifically cover consent but there is a discussion on privacy issues and its recommendation on this issue is, essentially, to have good guidance. The noble and learned Lord mentioned guidance and I will quote from the Select Committee’s report, which said:

“It is important that those who come forward to report serious offences, particularly those of a sexual or otherwise sensitive nature, are treated by investigators with respect and sensitivity. Their personal information should be handled in the same way and in accordance with their rights to privacy, where that is consistent with the interests of justice. The law is clear in that the right to a fair trial is an absolute right which cannot be violated to protect the right to privacy. We heard differing views on whether disclosing certain private information was always necessary to uphold the right to a fair trial, and this emphasises the need for clear guidance on this point”.