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Clause 5 - Duty of Director of

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 25th March 2004.

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Photo of Mr Andrew Hunter Mr Andrew Hunter Independent Conservative, Basingstoke 4:45 pm, 25th March 2004

I acknowledge that the wording of amendment No. 25 may not be the best possible to achieve the desired objective. On that basis alone, I shall ask the Committee's leave to withdraw it. However, I believe that the amendment, imperfectly

though it may have been worded, has drawn attention to fundamental issues to which we are entitled to return on Report.

The Minister seemed to be in two minds, at one point beginning to argue that the discretion already existed in new subsection (4A) before moving to a different ground. I do not believe that the ombudsman should have a role in the offences covered in clause 5, as they should be the responsibility of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and if the ombudsman is to have a role, it should be at the director's discretion.