Clause 72 - Financial reporting orders: variation and revocation

Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 13th January 2005.

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Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Attorney General 2:45 pm, 13th January 2005

I beg to move amendment No. 205, in clause 72, page 42, line 15, leave out 'convicted' and insert 'sentenced'.

This is a probing amendment. I am a little puzzled by subsection (3), which states:

''if the order was made on appeal, the application must be made to the court which originally convicted the person in respect of whom the order was made.''

Surely the application needs to be made to the court that originally sentenced the person: the convicting court and the sentencing court will not necessarily be one and the same. It would be most undesirable if a person convicted in the magistrates court and committed to the Crown court for sentence ended up back in the magistrates court. It seems desirable, if possible, that the judge who originally imposed the sentence should hear the case. I would be glad to hear whether the Minister thinks that there is any substance in my proposal.

Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

I have some sympathy with the hon. Gentleman's proposal. He is right to point out that offenders are not always sentenced by the same court that convicted them. We are considering tabling some amendments dealing with the use of financial reporting orders in Northern Ireland, and I will consider whether the present area could be better informed as well. On that basis, I ask him to withdraw the amendment.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Attorney General

I am grateful to the Minister. I am pleased that scrutiny in Committee is doing what it is supposed to be doing. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

Briefly, the clause provides for the variation or revocation of an FRO. The criminal who is reporting can make such an application, but how many times will an offender be able to make such an application? In effect, it is an appeal. We would not want the courts clogged up with people appealing repeatedly against an FRO. Could the Crown be awarded costs in respect of an offender's failed appeal?

Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

If the hon. Gentleman will bear with me, I shall write to him. He makes a good point. We do not want mischievous appeals, and we need some sort of operational structure, both for those who have to comply with FROs and for those who need to vary them, such as probation officers and others. I shall get some details about that. I told that it is a matter for the rules of the court, but I shall consider the matter.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 72 ordered to stand part of the Bill.