Clause 7 - Time limit for prosecution of offences

European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 4th November 2003.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I feel a small element of disquiet about the wording of subsection (1), which states:

''This section applies for the purposes of any election held in accordance with provision made by order under section 2''.

That is not so. It actually applies for the purposes of prosecution of offences under section 6, which may happen in the context of an election held in accordance with a provision made by order under section 2. It is a pedantic point, but I would like the Minister to reflect upon it. I am not entirely sure that the clause is correctly worded. I do not necessarily expect him to give me a comprehensive answer now.

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Constitutional Affairs)

I assure the hon. Gentleman that I shall reflect on his point. I am sure that the drafting is correct, but I shall do what he asks.

The clause provides that magistrates courts can be given a power to allow in exceptional circumstances on

application from the police or a prosecutor an extension of time within which a prosecution must be commenced up to a maximum of 24 months after the date of the offence. Current legislation allows only 12 months. This is an important, albeit modest step forward in improving security measures in the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill.