Once again, our amendments were suggested by the Law Society of England and Wales. Amendments Nos. 123, 139 and 124 tabled by the Liberal Democrats would have a similar effect. They also added their names to our amendments, which refer to retrials. The purpose of the amendment is to include provisions for the suspect to recall prosecution witnesses in a retrial even when the prosecution are not obliged to call them again, for the suspect to call defence witnesses and to have the same right to publicly funded legal services as any other defendant in criminal proceedings. There must be basic safeguards during a retrial.
The Government say that a review amounts to a retrial, but the Law Society believes that it should be defined in order to include the right to recall prosecution witnesses. On Second Reading, the Minister said:
''A retrial is differentiated from a simple appeal by the fact that the process starts again from scratch with a presumption of innocence.''—[Official Report, 9 December 2002; Vol. 396, c. 44.]
However, that is not what the Bill as drafted states. I entirely accept the Minister's good faith on Second Reading, and I am sure that he intended that the Bill
should reflect what he said, but as drafted it does not. It would do so if wording similar to that in the amendments were included; I am not wedded to any particular drafting. There is no reference in the Bill to the funding of defence costs, adequate legal representation, interpretation and translation. The Law Society makes the significant point that, unless such a provision were in the Bill, it would be questionable whether a review amounting to a retrial would satisfy the requirement to the right to a fair trial as set out in article 6 of the European convention on human rights. I am sure that the Government, having incorporated the ECHR into UK law under the Human Rights Act 1998, would not want the Bill to be in breach of that convention. I anticipate that the Liberal Democrats will take a similar line, and I hope that the Minister will take the matter seriously.