Amendment 8

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill - Committee (1st Day) – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 26th January 2021.

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Lord Stewart of Dirleton:

Moved by Lord Stewart of Dirleton

8: Clause 23, page 20, line 24, at end insert “(or a sentence of detention without limit of time so imposed)”Member’s explanatory statementThis amendment clarifies that new section 205ZC of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 does not apply where an offender aged under 18 is sentenced to detention without limit of time for a terrorism offence.

Photo of Lord Stewart of Dirleton Lord Stewart of Dirleton The Advocate-General for Scotland

My Lords, I shall speak also to Amendment 9 in this group. Both are minor technical amendments to Clause 23. Amendment 8 would make a minor amendment to Clause 23, which introduces the terrorism sentence with fixed licence period in Scotland. The amendment would add the sentence of detention without time limit to the “waterfall” list of sentences of imprisonment and detention that a court can impose in relation to an offence. This would ensure that the new terrorism sentence was available only where a court did not impose a sentence in this list, which includes the indeterminate sentence of detention under Section 208, making the order of sentencing options clear.

Amendment 9 would simply remove a now redundant reference to new Section 205ZC(6) in subsection (4) relating to the new terrorism sentence introduced in Clause 23 due to an amendment to that provision on Report in the Commons. Subsection (4) defines the meaning of the aggregate term in relation to a sentence of detention in respect of the new terrorism sentence in Scotland, as it applies to offenders of at least 16 years of age but under 21. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Thomas of Gresford Lord Thomas of Gresford Liberal Democrat Shadow Attorney General

My Lords, the Minister’s words brought to mind many waterfalls that I know and love in Scotland, but I will forgo the opportunity to comment on Scottish criminal law. I am sure that both these minor and technical amendments are perfectly justified and I have no more to say about them.

Photo of Lord Falconer of Thoroton Lord Falconer of Thoroton Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow Attorney General

I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart of Dirleton, for the clarity with which he introduced these two technical amendments. Perhaps I may ask two questions. First, on Amendment 8, what would the implications have been had this amendment not been made? I was not clear from what he said whether it would change any position. Secondly, in relation to Amendment 9, how many further convictions would have been included without the decision to limit the availability of the new sentence to cases of conviction on indictment?

Photo of Lord Stewart of Dirleton Lord Stewart of Dirleton The Advocate-General for Scotland

My Lords, the purpose of the amendment was to reflect the approach adopted across England and Wales, and Northern Ireland. The “waterfall” approach means that courts can impose the new sentence only where they do not impose, for example, a life sentence or an extended sentence. Within the Scottish sentencing framework, this waterfall includes the sentence of detention without time limit, which was unintentionally omitted during initial drafting of the clause. As I said earlier, subsection (6) in the previous version of the Bill was amended during the Commons debate. The amendment would simply remove a reference to a provision that no longer exists.

Just as the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, is aware of attractive waterfalls in Scotland, I am aware of attractive waterfalls in Wales. I hope that some day soon we will be permitted to discuss them in a friendly fashion together.

Amendment 8 agreed.