Schedule 21 - Amendments relating to sentencing

Criminal Justice Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 13th February 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation) 10:15 am, 13th February 2003

I beg to move amendment No. 758, in

schedule 21, page 251, line 12, at end insert—

'Piracy Act 1837 (c.88)

Section 3 of the Piracy Act 1837 (punishment for offence under certain repealed Acts relating to piracy) shall cease to have effect.'

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 808.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

Before we start on this long list of Government amendments, I want to respond to the point of order raised at the beginning of this morning's deliberations. I flagged up in my missive to Committee members the fact that we would table several further consequential and drafting amendments. I apologise for not doing this earlier, but I shall be happy to circulate my speaking notes, which explain the purpose of those amendments, and as we go through each of them, I shall explain what they do. In essence and in summary, they change references to new orders and make the existing structures accommodate intermittent custody and the new sentencing framework. For the convenience of the Committee, we have tried to group the amendments by Act, although that sense of convenience might not be felt by all hon. Members when they apply their minds to the amendments.

Amendments Nos. 758 and 808 repeal section 3 of the Piracy Act 1837, which provides a punishment of transportation under two other Acts, both of which have been repealed. It is thus redundant, and can now be repealed.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I thank the Minister for his earlier comments about providing notes for us. It is helpful and we are grateful.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation) 10:30 am, 13th February 2003

I beg to move amendment No. 759, in

schedule 21, page 251, line 12, at end insert—

'Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (c.12)

(1) Section 49 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (restrictions on reports of proceedings in which young persons are concerned) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (4A)(d), for ''section 62(3) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000'' there is substituted ''section 202(c) or (d) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.

(3) In subsection (11)—

(a) in the definition of ''sexual offence'', for ''has the same meaning as in the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000'' there is substituted ''means an offence listed in Part 2 of Schedule 11 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003'', and

(b) in the definition of ''violent offence'', for ''has the same meaning as in the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000'' there is substituted ''means an offence listed in Part 1 of Schedule 11 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.'

Section 62(3) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 is being repealed and re-enacted in the Bill as clause 202(c) and (d). The reference in it to section 49 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 therefore needs to change accordingly. Also, the definitions of sexual offence and violent offence are currently in the 2000 Act. The reference should refer instead to schedule 11, where all the offences to count as violent and sexual are listed. That is what the amendment achieves.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

Obviously, there will be a cross-reference to the Sexual Offences Bill. How can that be managed in respect of two Bills that will probably receive Royal Assent at the same time?

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

The hon. Gentleman is right. The two will have to dovetail. I am sure that a mechanism will be found to achieve that. I said when we debated the relevant clauses earlier that the ones that are listed reflect the offences as they currently stand. They will need to be changed in due course to reflect the offences that Parliament finally decides on when assent is given to the Sexual Offences Bill.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I am sure that that is right. It will be a delicious nightmare because the Act that we shall pass—this Act—will be unintelligible in places because it will have been amended by the enactment of the Sexual Offences Bill. That is the simple consequence of enacting so much legislation all in one go.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 760, in

schedule 21, page 251, line 16, at end insert—

'Children and Young Persons Act 1963 (c.37)

In section 16 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 (offences committed by children), in subsection (3), after ''sentences)'' there is inserted ''or Chapter 5 of Part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (dangerous offenders)''.'

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 809.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

The amendment adds the new sentences for dangerous offenders to the exception to the rule that offences committed when an offender is under 14 should not be counted as evidence of previous convictions; and amendment No. 809 repeals a reference to mandatory sentences, because the section to which it refers no longer contains a mandatory sentence.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 761, in

schedule 21, page 251, line 26, leave out from 'interpretation)' to end of line 27 and insert '—

(a) in subsection (1), the definition of ''suspended sentence'' is omitted, and

(b) subsection (2) is omitted.'

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 810.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

The purpose of the amendments is to insert a repeal of subsection (2) of section 104 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 into schedule 21, and amendment No. 810 also repeals a definition of suspended sentence that is no longer needed.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 762, in

schedule 21, page 251, line 32, leave out '(2)(b)' and insert '(2)—

(a) in paragraph (b)'.

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 763, 764 and 811.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

Amendments Nos. 762, 763 and part of 811 repeal a section of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968, which allowed offenders to appeal to the court against being recalled to prison after their release. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 made recall a matter for the Parole Board rather than for the court. The section would have been repealed as a consequence of that Act, but it was needed for a few cases in which offenders had been sentenced before the Act came into force. It is no longer needed.

Amendment No. 811 also repeals the right of an offender who has been committed to prison under section 116 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 to appeal against a committal. Section 116 provides for committing a person to prison if they have committed an offence while on licence. The provision for recalling a person if that happens is now in clauses 232 and 233, so section 116 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 is being repealed. Those clauses also contain appeal provisions, so the right to appeal in the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 can also be repealed. And that is quite a sentence.

Amendment No. 764 changes a reference to section 67 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967, which describes how remand time is credited to a prisoner's sentence, to clause 220 of the Bill, which deals with that issue.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No.763, in

schedule 21, page 251, line 36, at end insert

'and

(b) paragraph (c) and the word ''or'' immediately preceding it are omitted.'

No. 764, in

schedule 21, page 252, line 6, at end insert—

'In Schedule 2 (procedural and other provisions applicable on order for retrial), in paragraph 2(4), for the words from the beginning to ''apply'' there is substituted ''Section 220 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (crediting of periods of remand in custody: terms of imprisonment and detention) shall apply''.'—[Hilary Benn.]

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 765, in

schedule 21, page 252, line 15, at end insert—

'( ) After subsection (2A) there is inserted—

''(2B) A person who is serving a sentence of imprisonment to which an intermittent custody order under section 165 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 relates shall not during any licence period specified for the purposes of subsection (1)(b)(i) of that section have a firearm or ammunition in his possession.''.'

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 766 to 769.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

Amendment Nos. 765 and 768 are provisions to ban firearms to fit intermittent custody; amendments Nos. 766, 767, 769 amend the same provision to take account of the new community order.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

Perhaps the Minister can clarify something for me. Amendment No. 765 states that offenders serving intermittent custody will not be permitted to have a firearm or ammunition in their possession for all intermittent licence periods plus five years after their release. Can they maintain a firearms certificate?

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

Good question. I do not know; I shall have to inquire. It may be of help to the Committee if I explain that offenders serving normal custody are banned from having firearms for five years from the time of their release. The amendment will ban offenders on intermittent custody for all intermittent licence periods plus five years after release from their final period of custody. That seems the most sensible way of accommodating intermittent custody with the banning provisions.

Photo of Humfrey Malins Humfrey Malins Conservative, Woking

Is the amendment consistent with section 36B of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980? The Minister does not have to answer now.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I am relieved to hear it. I will gladly write to the hon. Gentleman.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 766, in

schedule 21, page 252, line 17, leave out

'within the meaning of the Criminal Justice Act 2003'.

No. 767, in

schedule 21, page 252, line 17, at end insert—

'( ) After subsection (3) there is inserted—

''(3ZA) In subsection (3)(b) above, ''community order'' means—

(a) a community order within the meaning of Part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 made in England and Wales, or

(b) a probation order made in Scotland.'' '

No. 768, in

schedule 21, page 252, line 17, at end insert—

'( ) In subsection (6), after ''(2)'' there is inserted '', (2B)''.'

No. 769, in

schedule 21, page 252, leave out lines 18 to 21 and insert—

'(1) Section 52 (forfeiture and disposal of firearms; cancellation of certificate by convicting court) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)(c), for ''probation order'' there is substituted ''community order''.

(3) After subsection (1) there is inserted—

''(1A) In subsection (1)(c) ''community order'' means—

(a) a community order within the meaning of Part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 made in England and Wales, or

(b) a probation order made in Scotland.'' '

—[Hilary Benn.]

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 770, in

schedule 21, page 252, line 26, after 'of' insert 'Part 12 of'.

The amendment clarifies that a reference to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 in section 94 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 should be a reference to part 12 of that Act.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

The Minister has said what it does, and I could read that for myself. He has not said why part 12 is specified for the purpose of this enactment and not others.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

The straight answer is that there is a good reason for it. I am wholly confident that I will be able to justify it subsequently. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept that.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 771, in

schedule 21, page 252, line 26, at end insert—

'Children and Young Persons Act 1969 (c.54)

In section 23 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 (remands and committals to local authority accommodation), for the definition of ''sexual offence'' and ''violent offence'' in subsection (12) there is substituted—

'' ''sexual offence'' means an offence specified in Part 2 of Schedule 11 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003;

''violent offence'' means murder or an offence specified in Part 1 of Schedule 11 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003;''.'

Currently, the definitions of ''sexual offence'' and ''violent offence'' are to be found in section 161 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. Instead of defining the terms, the Bill lists those offences that count as sexual and violent, which we debated at some length in parts 1 and 2 of schedule 11. The amendment updates a reference to the meaning of these terms, which had pointed to the 2000 Act, in the Children and Young Persons Act 1969.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

At the risk of repeating the point, this will be completely redundant once the Sexual Offences Bill is on the statute book. The schedule refers to the existing list of offences, which will presumably cease to have effect once the Sexual Offences Bill is enacted.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 772, in

schedule 21, page 252, line 29, leave out

'section 87 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000'

and insert

'section 67 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967'.

In paragraph 12, the reference to section 87 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 should be to section 67 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967. The amendment achieves this.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 773, in

schedule 21, page 252, line 31, at end insert—

'Thames Barrier and Flood Prevention Act 1972 (c.xiv)

In section 56 of the Thames Barrier and Flood Prevention Act 1972 (orders for carrying out certain defence works), in subsection 3(a)(ii), for ''six months'' there is substituted ''12 months''.'

The amendment raises the maximum penalty for an indictable offence created under the enabling power contained in the Thames Barrier and Flood Protection Act 1972. It is necessary because the maximum custodial penalty of six months attracted by an offence created under this provision will not be compatible with the new sentencing framework. The maximum penalty for such an offence is therefore being raised to 12 months. Given the indictable nature of those offences it is considered appropriate to raise the maximum penalties for offences created by this enabling power to 12 months, as opposed to 51 weeks.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

We have this strange situation where custodial penalties are being removed for some offences and enhanced for others. I know that that was debated on Tuesday, but what are the criteria for raising rather than diminishing them? Do particular matters relating to breaches of the Thames Barrier and Flood Prevention Act 1972 make it necessary?

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

As I said, given the indictable nature of the offence, it is considered appropriate to do so.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 774, in

schedule 21, page 252, line 39, leave out 'or'.

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 775.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 sets out how long an offender has to wait until his conviction is spent and he no longer has to disclose it. The time varies according to the severity of the sentence. Some convictions are never spent. Amendments Nos. 774 and 775 ensure that convictions are never spent for which the extended sentence for certain violent and sexual offences is imposed. That includes under-18s as well as adults.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

The description just passing its way gently past us raised some concerns. It is difficult from the brief nature of the amendment to ascertain what they are. The question of the rehabilitation of offenders and periods during which convictions may or may not be spent is difficult. Indeed, at some point we will be legislating on the subject. There may be good reasons why sexual offences should never be spent, but will it lead to change in relation to juveniles, which is what I understood the Minister to be saying? If so, it would be helpful to have some amplification about what is happening, although perhaps I have misunderstood.

Photo of Humfrey Malins Humfrey Malins Conservative, Woking

We must have a little concern if, as the Minister said, a juvenile could find himself in custody

for a long period and be released in his 20s, but then find that there was no opportunity for that conviction to be spent during the whole of his lifetime. If that is right, a youngster might come out after a long sentence at the age of, say, 28 or 30 with another 50 years of life without any opportunity for that conviction to be spent. That is a worrying thought.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation) 10:45 am, 13th February 2003

I hear the points that have been made. Under the current provisions some convictions are never spent. The amendments would ensure that extended sentences for the violent and sexual offences listed in schedule 11 would also not be regarded as being spent. If the aim is public protection, the argument is that the provisions should apply to the offender regardless of the age at which they committed the offence, which is why it is proposed that under-18-year-olds are included as well as adults.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 775, in

schedule 21, page 252, line 41, at end insert

'or an extended sentence under section 207 or 208 of that Act'.—[Hilary Benn.]

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 891, in

schedule 21, page 253, line 2, at end insert—

'Armed Forces Act 1976 (c.52)

(1) Section 8 of the Armed Forces Act 1976 (powers of Standing Civilian Courts in relation to civilians) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)(a), for ''six months'' there is substituted ''twelve months''.

(3) In subsection (2), for ''12 months'' there is substituted ''65 weeks''.

(4) At the end there is inserted—

''(5) The Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument—

(a) amend subsection (1)(a) by substituting for the reference to 12 months a reference to 18 months, and

(b) amend subsection (2) by substituting for the reference to 65 weeks a reference to 24 months.

(6) Section 265(4) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (power to make supplementary provision etc.)applies in relation to an order under subsection (5) as it applies in relation to an order under section 139 of that Act (power to increase limits on sentencing powers of magistrates' courts).

(7) A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (5) may only be made if a draft of the statutory instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.'' '.

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 892.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

The amendments are consequential on the changes to magistrates courts' sentencing powers made earlier under clauses 137 to 139. They will enable standing civilian courts to sentence to 12 months custody in respect of one offence and 65 weeks in respect of two or more offences to be served consecutively, and enable those powers to be adjusted by order in line with any increase in the sentencing powers of magistrates courts under clause 139. Standing civilian courts are set up outside the United Kingdom to deal with civilians, especially the dependants of service personnel, who are subject to

service law. Their powers of sentence are similar to those of magistrates courts.

Photo of Sylvia Hermon Sylvia Hermon Shadow Spokesperson (Women), Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I draw the Minister's attention to the fact that in relation to increased sentencing for drugs-related offences the Bill quite correctly says that schedule 20 does not affect the penalty for any offence committed before the commencement of that schedule. That is to maintain compatibility with article 7 of the European convention on human rights. I am concerned that the amendments that are being made to schedule 21 do not bear a similar caveat to ensure compatibility with article 7.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I am pleased that the Minister is addressing the issues of courts-martial and attendant matters, because that was a concern. I remind him of the argument, which I shall not repeat, about 12 months versus 51 weeks. I suspect that that argument applies to the present instance as well.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

In answer to the hon. Lady's point, the matter will be covered in a commencement order. If I can give her any further information in answer to the point that she raised, I will write to her.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 776, in

schedule 21, page 253, leave out lines 6 to 8.

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 777.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

Two amendments to the Bail Act 1976 were placed in the wrong order, such that an amendment to section 1 appeared after an amendment to section 2. The amendments correct that error.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 777, in

schedule 21, page 253, line 11, at end insert—

'( ) In subsection (2), in the definition of ''probation hostel'', for the words from ''by'' onwards there is substituted ''by a community order under section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.'

No. 778, in

schedule 21, page 253, line 26, leave out from beginning to '(non' and insert—

'The Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 is amended as follows.

In section 11'.—[Hilary Benn.]

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 779, in

schedule 21, page 253, line 29, at end insert—

'In section 33 (maximum penalties on summary conviction in pursuance of section 22), in subsection (1)(a), for ''3 months'' there is substituted ''51 weeks''.'

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 781.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

Amendment No. 779 increases the maximum penalty for specified summary offences from three months to 51 weeks. The change is necessary because, under the new sentencing framework, the sentence of custody plus, whose maximum term in relation to one offence will be 51 weeks, will replace all custodial sentences of less than 12 months. Therefore, following implementation of the new sentencing framework, the minimum

maximum custodial sentence will be 51 weeks—[Hon. Members: ''Is that the same as the maximum minimum?''] It all makes sense—

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

if one knows how to interpret it.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

It all depends on how you tell them.

A custodial sentence of three months will no longer exist. In order to preserve a custodial sentence for these offences, it is necessary to raise the maximum penalty to 51 weeks' imprisonment.

The offences to which the provision relates are: criminal damage to a value of less than £5,000; aiding and abetting in relation to such criminal damage; and aggravated vehicle taking where the damage caused is valued at less than £5,000. All those offences are of significant magnitude to justify retaining the option of a custodial penalty.

Amendment No. 781 updates a reference to section 84 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, which is being re-enacted in the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 780, in

schedule 21, page 253, line 29, at end insert—

'In section 85 (power to remit fine), in subsection (2A), for ''section 35(2)(a) or (b) of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997'' there is substituted ''section (Power to impose unpaid work requirement or curfew requirement on fine defaulter)(2) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.

No. 781, in

schedule 21, page 253, line 29, at end insert—

'In section 133 (consecutive terms of imprisonment), in subsection (1), for ''Subject to section 84 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000,'' there is substituted ''Subject to section (Restriction on consecutive sentences for released prisoners) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003,''.'—[Hilary Benn.]

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 782, in

schedule 21, page 254, line 7, at end insert—

'The Criminal Justice Act 1982 is amended as follows.

In section 32 (early release of prisoners), in subsection (1)(a), after ''life'' there is inserted '', imprisonment for public protection under section 205 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 or an extended sentence under section 207 of that Act'' '.

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 783 and 784.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

The amendments concern the Criminal Justice Act 1982. Section 32 of that Act provides for the executive release of prisoners. It enables the Secretary of State to order that certain prisoners can be released early, but not earlier than the specified period. Certain categories of prisoner are excluded from this provision, such as those serving imprisonment for life and those who have committed an excluded offence. Amendment No. 782 adds two more exclusions: prisoners on the sentence of imprisonment for public protection under clause 205 and the new extended sentence for certain violent and sexual offences under clause 207.

Amendments Nos. 783 and 784 concern schedule 13 of the 1982 Act, which sets out reciprocal arrangements for community service orders. The two

amendments ensure that community service orders made in Northern Ireland can still transfer to England and Wales. Such orders will be treated as if they were community orders made in England and Wales under section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Also, certain references to community service orders in that schedule are changed to community service orders or, as the case may be, community orders within the meaning of part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The reference to community service orders is still necessary because the provision also covers offenders who live in Scotland, where community service orders still exist. No substantive changes are made to the provision.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 783, in

schedule 21, page 254, leave out lines 8 to 10 and insert—

'(1) Part 3 of Schedule 13 (reciprocal arrangements (Northern Ireland) persons residing in England and Wales or Scotland) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph 7—'.

No. 784, in

schedule 21, page 254, line 17, at end insert—

'(3) For paragraph 9(3) there is substituted—

''(3) Subject to the following provisions of this paragraph—

(a) a community service order made or amended in the circumstances specified in paragraph 7 above shall be treated as if it were a community order made in England and Wales under section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and the provisions of Part 12 of that Act (so far as relating to such orders) shall apply accordingly; and

(b) a community service order made or amended in the circumstances specified in paragraph 8 above shall be treated as if it were a community service order made in Scotland and the legislation relating to community service orders in Scotland shall apply accordingly.''

(4) In paragraph 9(4)(a), after ''community service orders'' there is inserted ''or, as the case may be, community orders (within the meaning of Part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003)''.

(5) In paragraph 9(5), after ''a community service order'' there is inserted ''or, as the case may be, a community order (within the meaning of Part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003)''.

(6) In paragraph 9(6)—

(a) after ''community service orders'', where first occurring, there is inserted ''or, as the case may be, community orders (within the meaning of Part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003)'', and

(b) in paragraph (b)(i), for ''the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000'' there is substituted ''Part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.'

—[Hilary Benn.]

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 785, in

schedule 21, page 254, line 24, at end insert—

'(aa) in subsection (1A), after ''2000'' there is inserted ''or under any of sections 205 to 208 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003'', and for ''that subsection'' there is substituted ''that section'' '.

Section 47 of the Mental Health Act 1983 allows the court to make a hospital order in place of an offender's sentence, based on the assessment of two medical practitioners. The amendment makes it clear that there is no exception for the new sentences for dangerous offenders. That is covered by clauses 205 to 208. Public protection is best served by ensuring that everyone who requires treatment, either for his or her own safety or for the protection of others, can receive it.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I may have misunderstood the amendment. Is it the intention that such orders can still to be made? I assume that that is the answer. I see the Minister nodding, so I shall sit down.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 786, in

schedule 21, page 255, line 7, at end insert—

'Road Traffic Act 1988 (c.52){**qc**}

'In section 164 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (power of constables to require production of driving licence and in certain cases statement of date of birth), in subsection (5), for ''section 40 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997'' there is substituted ''section (Fine defaulters: driving disqualification) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.'

No. 787, in

schedule 21, page 255, line 8, leave out from the beginning to '(combination' and insert—

'The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 is amended as follows.

In section 27 (production of licence), in subsection (3), for ''section 40 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997'' there is substituted ''section (Fine defaulters: driving disqualification) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.

In section 46'.—[Hilary Benn.]

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 788, in

schedule 21, page 255, leave out lines 14 and 15 and insert—

'The Football Spectators Act 1989 is amended as follows.

In section 7 (disqualification for membership of scheme), subsection (9) is omitted.

In section 14E (banning orders: general), after subsection (6) there is inserted—

''(7) A person serving a sentence of imprisonment to which an intermittent custody order under section 165 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 relates is to be treated for the purposes of this section as having been detained in legal custody until his final release; and accordingly any reference in this section to release is, in relation to a person serving such a sentence, a reference to his final release.''

In section 18 (information), after subsection (4) there is inserted—

''(5) In relation to a person serving a sentence of imprisonment to which an intermittent custody order under section 165 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 relates, any reference in this section to his detention or to his release shall be construed in accordance with section 14E(7).''.'

The amendment amends the provision for football banning orders so that they apply to intermittent custody. A person who has received a football banning order must report to a police station within five days of the order being imposed to receive instructions on the content of the order. If the person is in custody when the banning order is passed, he has five days from the day of release from prison to report to a police station.

In the case of intermittent custody, we must make it clear to which release from custody that applies. If a person is released for only very short periods, it may be unfair to require him to report to a police station in that time, especially as the release periods of intermittent custody are intended for the offender to work, attend education, undertake child care responsibilities, and so on. However, if the offender were subject to a ban, it would not be right if the ban began only when he finished all the custodial periods.

The amendment will mean that the offender must report to a police station within five days of his final release from custody, but the court should impose a

prohibited activity requirement, which prohibits the offender from attending football matches, to cover the intermittent licence periods.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 789, in

schedule 21, page 255, leave out lines 18 to 23 and insert—

'33(1) Section 68 (persons disqualified from being private foster parents) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (2)(d), the words ''a probation order has been made in respect of him or he has been'' are omitted.

(3) After subsection (2) there is inserted—

''(2A) A conviction in respect of which a probation order was made before 1st October 1992 (which would not otherwise be treated as a conviction) is to be treated as a conviction for the purposes of subsection (2)(d).''

34(1) In Schedule 9A (child minding and day care for young children), paragraph 4 is amended as follows.

(2) In subparagraph (2)(g), the words ''placed on probation or'' are omitted.

(3) At the end there is inserted—

''(7) A conviction in respect of which a probation order was made before 1st October 1992 (which would not otherwise be treated as a conviction) is to be treated as a conviction for the purposes of this paragraph.'' '

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 812.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

The amendments correct two amendments to the Children Act 1989 to make them clearer. Both concern eligibility to care for young children. The original consequential amendment replaced a reference to probation orders with the new community order and repealed a reference to ''being placed on probation'', as there is no longer such a disposal.

The reference to probation orders in section 68(2)(d) of the 1989 Act should make it clearer that to be given a probation order before 1 October 1992, which would not otherwise count as a conviction, will count as such in reference to disqualification from being a foster parent. The date is relevant because there is no question that probation orders made on or after that date are to count as convictions.

Similarly, the reference to ''being placed on probation'' in paragraph 9 to schedule 9A should clarify that persons given a probation order before 1 October 1992, which would not otherwise count as a conviction, will count as such in reference to disqualification from being a child minder or from providing day care for young children.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 790, in

schedule 21, page 255, leave out lines 25 and 26 and insert—

'The Criminal Justice Act 1991 is amended as follows.

Section 65 (supervision of young offenders after release) is omitted.'

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 791 and 813.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

The amendments adapt schedule 3 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 so that probation orders made in Northern Ireland can still be transferred to England and Wales. The names of the various terms and their location in legislation need to change, so that

the new community order and its arrangements, rather than community rehabilitation orders and their arrangements, are referred to.

The repeal table in schedule 26 contains an error in relation to section 9(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991. Paragraph (c), not paragraph (d), should be repealed, and the amendment corrects that error.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 791, in

schedule 21, page 255, line 26, at end insert—

'(1) Schedule 3 (reciprocal enforcement of certain orders) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph 10(3)(d), for the words from ''paragraph 3 of Schedule 2'' onwards there is substituted ''section 181 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.

(3) In paragraph 11(2)—

(a) in paragraph (a)—

(i) for ''probation order'' there is substituted ''community order'', and

(ii) after ''England and Wales'' there is inserted ''under section j001 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003'', and for paragraph (b) there is substituted—

''(b) the provisions of Part 12 of that Act (so far as relating to such orders) shall apply accordingly.''

(4) In paragraph 11(3), for paragraphs (a) and (b) there is substituted—

''(a) the requirements of Part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 relating to community orders (within the meaning of that Part);

(b) the powers of the home court under Schedule 7 to that Act, as modified by this paragraph; and''.

(5) In paragraph 11(4), for the words from ''probation order made by a court'' onwards there is substituted ''community order made by a court in England and Wales under section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, except a power conferred by paragraph 9(1)(b) or (c) or 13(2) of Schedule 7 to that Act''.

(6) In paragraph 11(5), for ''the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000'' there is substituted ''Part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.'.

—[Hilary Benn.]

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation) 11:00 am, 13th February 2003

I beg to move amendment No. 792, in

schedule 21, page 256, line 16, at end insert—

'(1) Section 234 (probation orders: persons residing in England and Wales) is amended as follows.

(2) For subsection (2) there is substituted—

''(2) Subsection (1) above applies to any probation order made under section 228 unless the order includes requirements which are more onerous than those which a court in England and Wales could impose on an offender under section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.''.

(3) In subsection (4)—

(a) in paragraph (a)—

(i) for ''paragraph 5(3) of Schedule 2 to the 2000 Act'' there is substituted ''section 187(2) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003'',

(ii) for ''or, as the case may be, community rehabilitation orders'' there is substituted ''or, as the case may be, community orders under Part 12 of that Act'', and

(iii) for ''paragraph 5 of the said Schedule 2'' there is substituted ''section 187 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003'', and

(b) in paragraph (b), for ''subparagraphs (5) to (7) of the said paragraph 5'' there is substituted ''sections 187(4) and 188(1) and (2) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.

(4) In subsection (5), for ''Schedule 3'' onwards there is substituted ''Schedule 7 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 shall apply as if it were a community order made under section 160 of that Act''.

(5) In subsection (6)—

(a) for ''Schedule 3 to the 2000 Act'' there is substituted ''Schedule 7 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003'',

(b) for ''subparagraphs (4) and (5) of paragraph 4'' there is substituted ''subparagraphs (6) and (7) of paragraph 9'', and

(c) for ''subparagraph (4)'' there is substituted ''subparagraph (6)''.

(6) In subsection (10)—

(a) for the words from ''paragraph 6'' to ''community rehabilitation orders'' there is substituted ''paragraph 8 of Schedule (Transfer of community orders to Scotland or Northern Ireland) (which relates to community orders'', and

(b) for ''an order made under section 41'' there is substituted ''a community order made under Part 12''.'

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 814.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

Amendment No. 792 does the same as the amendment that we have just considered. In this instance, the intention is that probation orders made in Scotland can still be transferred to England and Wales under the new sentencing framework.

Amendment No. 814 repeals words in section 234(2) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 which amendment No. 792 replaces. There is no substantive change, and the provision's effect is maintained.

The amendment also repeals section 234(5)(b), which provided for certain community orders made in Scotland to transfer to England and Wales as community punishment and rehabilitation orders. The latter will no longer exist, and the amendment to section 234(5)(a) ensures that Scottish community orders can transfer to England and Wales as community orders under clause 160. As a result, section 234(5)(b) can be repealed.

The amendment also repeals section 234(11), which defines ''the 2000 Act''. The definition is no longer needed, as a result of changes made by amendment No. 792.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 793, in

schedule 21, page 257, line 14, leave out from '2003' to the end of line 15.

A reference to ''probation order'' in section 562 of the Education Act 1996 was amended in the original consequential amendment—paragraph 42 of schedule 21 of the Bill—to the new community order or a youth community order. The reference to a youth community order is unnecessary because that section deals with children who are educated as boarders at a school. Youth community orders do not contain a residence requirement, so a child could not find himself or herself being educated as a boarder at a school by virtue of such an order. The amendment therefore omits the reference to youth community orders.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 794, in

schedule 21, page 257, line 15, at end insert—

'Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 (c.43){**qc**}

The Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 is amended as follows.

In section 31 (duration and conditions of licences), in subsection (6), for ''section 46(3) of the 1991 Act'' there is substituted ''section 236(2) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.'

The amendment simply updates a reference that will no longer be accurate following the passage of the Bill. Section 46(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991, which indicates when prisoners are liable for removal from the United Kingdom, is being re-enacted, and changed into clause 236(2). The reference to it in section 31 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 must therefore be amended accordingly.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 795, in

schedule 21, page 257, line 28, leave out from beginning to '(4)(g)' and insert—

'(1) Section 38 (local provision of youth justice services) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection.'

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 796.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

The purpose of the amendments is to ensure that youth offending teams have the power to supervise under–18s who, under the new regime in the Bill, are released on licence from a sentence of detention under section 91 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, which covers certain serious offences, or clause 208, which covers extended sentences for certain violent or sexual offences, where the offender is deemed to be dangerous.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 796, in

schedule 21, page 257, line 31, at end insert—

'(3) In subsection (4)(i), after ''1997 Act'')'' there is inserted ''or by virtue of conditions imposed under section 229 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.'—[Hilary Benn.]

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 797, in

schedule 21, page 257, line 33, at end insert—

'(1) Section 6 (committal for sentence in certain cases where offender committed in respect of another offence) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (3)(b), for ''section 120(1) below'' there is substituted ''paragraph 10(1) of Schedule 9 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.

(3) For subsection (4)(e), there is substituted—

''(e) paragraph 10(2) of Schedule 9 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (committal to Crown Court where offender convicted during operational period of suspended sentence).''.

In section 7 (power of Crown Court on committal for sentence under section 6), in subsection (2), for ''section 119 below'' there is substituted ''paragraphs 7 and 8 of Schedule 9 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.'

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 798 to 805.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

Amendment No. 797 has two parts. The amendment to section 6 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 simply updates a

reference to section 120(1), which is being consolidated into the Bill and changed.

The amendment to section 7 concerns committal for sentence. The powers of the Crown court when a person is committed to it by the magistrates court with respect to a suspended sentence are different from the powers that it would have if the person had not had a suspended sentence. The relevant powers are specified in the provisions for dealing with suspended sentences. The reference to section 119 of the 2000 Act, which sets out those powers, must be changed to paragraphs 7 and 8 of schedule 9 of the Bill, which is where those powers will now be set out.

Amendment No. 798 concerns section 12 of the 2000 Act, the provision by which offenders can be given absolute and conditional discharges by the court. Various categories of offenders are excluded, including those affected by the ''two strikes'' provision, under which an offender committing two serious offences must receive a life sentence. That provision is being repealed and replaced by the new sentences for dangerous offenders in clauses 205 to 208—the sentence for public protection and the extended sentence. Thus the reference needs to be changed.

Amendment No. 799 concerns the setting of life sentence tariffs. When setting the tariff for a prisoner sentenced to life, the court should compare the release provisions for life sentences to those applying to non-life sentences. The Bill changes the calculation of the time that prisoners must serve before they are released. The reference to sections 33(2) and 35(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 therefore needs to be updated to show the release provisions in clause 224(1).

Amendment No. 800 repeals sections 116 and 117 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. Those sections allow the court to return an offender to prison if he commits a new offence while on licence. Such provisions are replaced by the provisions in clauses 232 and 233 for recalling offenders administratively to prison. It is essential that if offenders violate the conditions of their licences or commit a new offence they should be returned to prison as swiftly as possible. Recalling them administratively rather than via the courts or the Parole Board will achieve that. All recall decisions will of course be examined by the Parole Board, to ensure that they have been taken fairly. Offenders will be able to make representations if they wish.

Amendment No. 801 concerns compensation orders. An offender can be required to compensate for personal injury, loss or damage resulting from an offence, or to make payments for funeral expenses in respect of a death resulting from an offence. The effect of the amendment is that the offender can be given a compensation order only in addition to, and not instead of, one of the new sentences for dangerous offenders. Amendment No. 802 has the same function in relation to the court's ability to impose a disqualification from driving.

Amendment No. 803 replaces a reference to section 84 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 with a reference to the clause that re-enacts it

exactly. Amendment No. 804 omits an unnecessary provision amending a reference to pre-sentence reports. The definition of pre-sentence reports is no longer needed in the 2000 Act, because pre-sentence reports are now dealt with in the Bill.

Amendment No. 805 corrects a drafting error. A reference is made to

''section 230(c) or (d) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.

It should be section 202(c) or (d).

Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

Amendment No. 798 would insert a new sub-paragraph (a) into paragraph 48 and retain the rest as sub-paragraph (b). I have not had a chance to cross-reference the provision to the 2000 Act, and I simply want to ask the Minister a question. At first sight it appears odd to omit a duty to explain the effect of making an order for conditional discharge, unless the provision relates to a specific instance of conditional discharge that is no longer applicable. I wonder whether a general duty has been dispensed with.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I shall write to the hon. Gentleman with an answer to his question.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 798, in

schedule 21, page 257, line 34, after ''discharge)'' insert

'—

(a) in subsection (1) for ''109(2), 110(2) or 111(2) below'' there is substituted ''section 110(2) or 111(2) below or section 205, 206, 207 or 208 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003)'', and

(b) '.

No. 799, in

schedule 21, page 259, line 37, at end insert—

'In section 82A (determination of tariffs), in subsection (3)(c), for ''sections 33(2) and 35(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991'' there is substituted ''section 224(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.'

No. 800, in

schedule 21, page 260, line 13, at end insert—

'Sections 116 and 117 (return to prison etc. where offence committed during original sentence) shall cease to have effect.'

No. 801, in

schedule 21, page 260, line 13, at end insert—

'In section 130 (compensation orders against convicted persons), in subsection (2), for ''109(2), 110(2) or 111(2) above,'' there is substituted ''110(2) or 111(2) above or section 205, 206, 207 or 208 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003,''.'.

No. 802, in

schedule 21, page 260, line 28, at end insert—

'In section 146 (driving disqualification for any offence), in subsection (2), for ''109(2), 110(2) or 111(2) above'' there is substituted ''110(2) or 111(2) above or section 205, 206, 207 or 208 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.'

No. 803, in

schedule 21, page 260, line 28, at end insert—

'In section 154 (commencement of Crown Court sentence), in subsection (2), for ''section 84 above'' there is substituted ''section (Restriction on consecutive sentences for released prisoners) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003''.'

No. 804, in

schedule 21, page 260, line 36, leave out subparagraph (5).

No. 805, in

schedule 21, page 263, line 23, leave out 'section 230(c) or (d)' and insert 'section 202(c) or (d)'.—[Hilary Benn.]

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 806, in

schedule 21, page 264, line 6, at end insert—

'Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000 (c.19){**qc**}

(1) Section 62 of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000 (loss of benefit for breach of community order) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (8), for the definition of ''relevant community order'' there is substituted—

'' ''relevant community order'' means—a community order made under section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003; or

any order falling in England or Wales to be treated as such an order.''

(3) In subsection (11)(c)(ii), for ''to (e)'' there is substituted ''and (b)''.'

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 833.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

Amendment No. 806 simply amends the definition of ''relevant community orders'' to match the new community orders. Amendment No. 833 repeals a reference to

''any time before the coming into force of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000'',

which is now unnecessary.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

I beg to move amendment No. 807, in

schedule 21, page 264, line 8, leave out from beginning to 'for' in line 9 and insert—

'The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 is amended as follows.

In section 69 (duties of local probation boards in connection with victims of certain offences), in subsection (8), for paragraph (a) there is substituted—

''(a) murder or an offence specified in Schedule 11 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003.''

In section 70 (general interpretation), in subsection (5),'.

The amendment changes the definition of ''sexual and violent offences'' to refer to the list in schedule 11 rather than to the definition given in the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, which is being repealed.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 892, in

schedule 21, page 264, line 22, at end insert—

'Armed Forces Act 2001 (c.19){**qc**}

In section 30 of the Armed Forces Act 2001 (conditional release from custody), in subsection (6)(a) for ''six months'' there is substituted ''the term specified in subsection (1)(a) of section 8 of the Armed Forces Act 1976 (powers of courts in relation to civilians)''.'

No. 875, in

schedule 21, page 264, line 31, leave out paragraphs 78 to 81 and insert—

'In section 3 of the Vagrancy Act 1824 (c.83) (idle and disorderly persons), for the words from ''subject to'' to the end there is substituted ''it shall be lawful for any justice of the peace to impose on such person (being thereof convicted before him by his own view, or by the confession of such person, or by the evidence on oath of one or more credible witnesses) a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale''.

( ) Section 4 of that Act (rogues and vagabonds) is amended as follows.

( ) In that section, for the words from ''shall be'' to the end there is substituted ''commits an offence under this section''.

( ) At the end of that section (which becomes subsection (1)) there is inserted—

''(2) It shall be lawful for any justice of the peace to impose on any person who commits an offence under this section (being thereof convicted before him by the confession of such person, or by the evidence on oath of one or more credible witnesses)—

(a) in the case of a person convicted of the offence of wandering abroad and lodging in any barn or outhouse, or in any deserted or unoccupied building, or in the open air, or under a tent, or in any cart or waggon, and not giving a good account of himself, a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale, and

(b) in the case of a person convicted of any other offence under this section, a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.''.'.

—[Hilary Benn.]

Question proposed, That this schedule, as amended, be the Twenty-First schedule to the Bill.

Photo of Humfrey Malins Humfrey Malins Conservative, Woking

I am surprised, Mr. Illsley, that you have not exercised your inherent power to charge members of the public for watching our proceedings, which, for the past 30 minutes, have assumed the proportions of a Whitehall farce. Indeed, when the Bill gets to the other end of the Palace, Brian Rix himself might take part. I do not suppose that even one member of the Committee has the slightest idea of what has been said or done in the past 25 minutes, except for the Minister—perhaps not even him—and if anyone does, I challenge them to intervene now and give me a summary.

Unless I am mistaken, the Government have introduced 60 or more amendments to schedule 21, which is a sorry state of affairs. It reflects the fact that the Government rush too fast, never let anything bed in, lurch from headline to headline, from one flagship policy to another and from gimmick to gimmick. I realise the truth of the proposition that a great deal of what the Government have done recently lacks real substance.

The schedule purports to amend, repeal or otherwise change provisions from previous legal enactments. I would understand if that raft of changes and amendments were being made to Acts of Parliament from many years ago. However, it fiddles about with the Crime and Disorder Act 1998—another flagship policy—and with the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. More than 100 parts of that Act are being fiddled with, yet it is only two years old—little more than half an hour old in most people's minds.

The Criminal Justice and Courts Services Act 2000 is being altered, mucked about and fiddled with in the schedule, as is the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. I notice on page 260 the provision that

''in section 111 (minimum of three years for third domestic burglary) subsection (3) is omitted.''

I wonder whether the Minister can explain exactly what is going on so far as that subsection is concerned?

I remember the much-vaunted proposition that under section 111 a mandatory sentence would be imposed in relation to offences of domestic burglary on three separate occasions. How important has that section been? On 21 January, I asked the Minister how many defendants had, pursuant to that vital section, been given the mandatory sentence since it was first introduced. Shall we run a sweepstake on the answer? It was six. That is what that section has done. Has it resulted in many more such sentences? The answer to which I have just referred is three weeks old, and much may have happened in those three weeks. However, on the face of it, this terrific section has resulted in six such sentences. What effect will line 213 on page 260 have on that?

I am reminded of other matters, and I should like to ask the Minister whether they are dealt with in the schedule, as I cannot find them. They relate to some of the Government's other flagship policies on sentencing. One in particular, under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, is the vital measure—I was told at the time—of a restraining order for sexual offenders. I asked three weeks ago—so, again, much might have happened in the interim—how many orders had been imposed under that amazing section. None. It must deal with other matters.

Is there a reference in the schedule—I cannot see it—to travel restriction orders, which were vital as measures to deal with certain drug trafficking cases? The Minister will recall that they were to be imposed under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001. Is that being repealed? It might well be the case that it ought to be, given that—the Minister might not be surprised to know—since its inception the total number of such orders made pursuant to that flagship legislation has been none. Can he confirm that no travel restriction orders have been made?

I wonder whether another measure is being repealed. It is the recent provision under section 62 of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000, with which the Minister will be familiar, encouraging courts—I remember how important the policy was deemed to be at the time—to make orders depriving those who have breached community service orders of benefit, or making orders reducing the benefit. What an important provision that was. Has it been amended in any way under the 100 or more amendments under the schedule? I asked the Government some time ago how many such orders had been made by the courts, how many persons had been affected and the total sums that had been recovered. You will be very surprised to hear, Mr. Illsley, that some 35 days after my asking, answer from the Government has come there none. I do not think that they have the slightest idea whether any orders have been made or whether any money has been recovered. They are limping from week to week unable to answer the question.

I have asked the Minister specific questions in relation to certain penalties, which I hope he will answer. I also direct him to page 257 and ask him to explain what is meant by the phrase

''In section 12 (absolute and conditional discharge), subsection (4) (duty to explain effect of order for conditional discharge) is omitted.''

My problem is that I have to read the words as they are and understand them in plain English. My first reaction is that the words appear to say that there is now an absence of duty to explain what a conditional discharge is—but no. I did not think so, and I see that the Minister is shaking his head. I blame myself entirely for reading the Bill and believing that it means what it appears to say. If, in future, the effect of a conditional discharge will always have to be carefully explained to the defendant, I understand the position.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 11:15 am, 13th February 2003

The purpose of schedule 21 is to make a wide range of amendments relating to sentencing. I was struck, however, that at a time when we are trying to modernise our wording—indeed, some comments have been made during our debates about the need for modern wording—amendment No. 875 amends the Vagrancy Act 1824 to replicate the words:

''It shall be lawful for any justice of the peace to impose on such person (being thereof convicted before him by his own view, or by the confession of such person, or by the evidence on oath of one or more credible witnesses) a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.''

That is the apogee of 21st-century drafting. It is remarkable that, having chosen to amend the law, we should then preserve the language in its entirety. As my hon. Friend the Member for Woking rightly said, we are at that anomaly stage in our consideration of the Bill. We have considered hundreds of amendments—I hope that we have succeeded in doing justice to them without taking up too much time—to bring this legislation in line with that which already exists, so I suppose we are bound to encounter such examples.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Minister for Prisons and Probation)

That was an interesting set of speeches. We heard an uncharacteristic contribution from the hon. Member for Woking, which was not in keeping with the tone of the rest of his helpful contribution, because he is always helpful in our deliberations. [Hon. Members: ''Hear, hear.''] I shall chide him gently for that, because before I went through that long list—I apologise for the speed at which I read, but I did not want to take up too much time—I set out the reasons for the changes contained in the amendments that we have agreed.

I want to reassure the hon. Member for Woking on the two points that he raised, one of which was the reference in paragraph 66 to omitting subsection (3). That and the other example to which he drew attention are covered by clause 157, which we have already agreed. The only reason for the change is to introduce a much wider duty to give reasons. The other orders to which he referred and the relevant section of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000 are not amended by the schedule.

I get the impression that Opposition Members feel that, once legislation has been changed, there should be a ban on changing it again for a fixed period. I simply do not accept that argument, because it does not make sense. Part of the duty of any Government is

to listen to representations, identify the problems that people in the community are concerned about and respond appropriately. Part of the irritation that the hon. Gentleman expresses may arise—

It being twenty-five minutes past Eleven o'clock, The Chairman proceeded to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Schedule 21, as amended, agreed to.

The Chairman then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at that time.