Clause 171 - Provision of information by defendant

Part of Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 11 December 2001.

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Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Conservative, Cities of London and Westminster 12:30, 11 December 2001

I want to make a minor point. The Minister said that the regime of the drug-taking and drug-dealing fraternities in parts of Glasgow and Paisley—and perhaps among those in Camberley and Staines—may be somewhat tougher than many people realised. The point made earlier by both my hon. Friends was that inferences in Northern Ireland might have a different effect to the inferences being used by the court on mainland Great Britain. That was their concern.

I took on board the Minister's comments about the nature of the pressure that can often be applied to defendants. My hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath gave a good example when he said that the defendant may be the middle-ranking man rather than someone more senior. Defendants may be put under pressure in all parts of the United Kingdom. However, the issue was raised about inferences that were drawn specifically about Northern Ireland. That was what we had in mind when we raised our concerns.