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Clause 1

Part of Counter-Terrorism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 29th April 2008.

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Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Attorney General 10:45 am, 29th April 2008

I agree entirely with the hon. Gentleman. The Bill is out of kilter, and that is precisely why I wanted to highlight the issue. While I am conscious that we are dealing with terrorism and that people have anxieties about terrorism—that is why we have a Counter-Terrorism Bill to give special powers—every departure from the ordinary processes of criminal law gives me a slight shiver, and I need good justification for such departure. My hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth correctly raised the point, “If terrorism, why not organised crime?” The answer is that for organised crime you still have to have a reasonableness test. Organised crime in many ways impacts severely on the well-being of the citizens of the country. That is why, when I come across something of that sort, I ask myself whether it is for the Government to justify the departure from the reasonableness test because, on the face of it, it is difficult to see how the test will provide any sort of fetter or inhibition on the ability of the police to do their job in that context.