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Clause 5 - Duty of Director of

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 25th March 2004.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 4:15 pm, 25th March 2004

I do not necessarily agree with everything that the hon. Gentleman said, but he is

largely right that this is something in respect of which the DPP ought to have discretion. I do not particularly like the form of words in the amendment—instead of ''shall'' it should state ''may'', which would have achieved the same end. However, inasmuch as the DPP is a professional exerciser of discretion, there may be circumstances in which a matter is de minimis—for example, when it is not in anyone's interests for it to be referred in the way envisaged. He ought to have the power not to refer it. That is not in the measure as things stand. Accordingly, there is merit in the hon. Gentleman's argument.