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Clause 4

Part of Counter-Terrorism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 29th April 2008.

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Photo of David Heath David Heath Liberal Democrat, Somerton and Frome 12:15 pm, 29th April 2008

I want to explore a little more the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington. I entirely accept that the Minister does not want to prescribe in precise detail how the record of the document seized is put together, but what is the consequence if the record is misleading or incorrect? What if it omits documents that have been seized or wrongly describes them for the purpose of the record which, after all, is what the potential defendant—they are not accused at this point—from whom the seizure has been made relies on to ensure both that he knows what documents have been seized and what documents should be returned to him.

I am not sure what the answer might be, but does it invalidate the terms of the original warrant if the description is incomplete or incorrect? What if, for instance, a constable mistakes a document in one language for a document in another and puts the wrong description on it? That is quite possible if he is not familiar with the languages. One of the main reasons for removing the documents may well be that he or she cannot read them. What would be the consequences if a record of seizure is incorrectly made out?