Clause 29

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 20th March 2007.

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Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Opposition Whip (Commons) 11:30 am, 20th March 2007

I rise to support the amendment tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth. The Committee and the Minister will probably recall the appalling crime that was carried out when a mother was holding her baby at a christening party, and three individuals broke in, and she was shot dead. Those three gentlemen were convicted and were all, as I understand it, in the United Kingdom illegally. Two of them refused to make clear their age to the court, and the judge was not able to ascertain the age of the two defendants who were convicted, one of whom was a father at least once. They also then refused, as apparently they were entitled to do, to take any medical examination to establish their age. The judge then had to deal with them as though they were under 18, having taken some days to consider the matter to ensure that the judgment at which he arrived was going to be proof against any appeal.

My hon. Friend’s amendment would assist future judges finding themselves in that situation. He is absolutely right that defendants over the age of 16 plainly know the difference between right and wrong. It is pretty plain that if people convicted of serious offences, whether they are 16, 17 or 18 or older, are not entitled to be in the United Kingdom, we would not  wish them to continue to be here. I strongly urge the Committee to ensure that we can take at least a small step to ensuring that situations such as the one that arose in those circumstances, which are an absolute affront to any sense of justice and an outrage to the relatives and friends of the victim of that disgraceful crime, do not recur, by supporting my hon. Friend’s amendment.