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Clause 3 - Assault by penetration

Part of Sexual Offences Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 9th September 2003.

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Photo of Beverley Hughes Beverley Hughes Minister of State (Citizenship and Immigration), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism) 3:15 pm, 9th September 2003

Certainly—exactly so. I have no difficulty in agreeing with my hon. Friend. Based on the circumstances of the case, that person would be charged under the legislation.

Any penetrative offences that were not judged to be sexual—and I qualify that statement by saying that it is difficult to conceive what they might be, although the example of my hon. Friend the Member for Wirral, West (Stephen Hesford) in relation to young people might be an example in point—are offences against the person and in such cases there is provision for charges that carry the same maximum penalty of life imprisonment as those in the Bill.

I understand the concern that is the mainspring of the amendment of the hon. Member for Beaconsfield, but between the Bill and legislation that already exists there is provision in the case of penetrative offences that are sexual—and most will be—or rare, non-sexual offences for charges to be laid that attract the same penalty. There is no need for the amendment and I ask him to withdraw it.