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Clause 6

Part of Counter-Terrorism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 29th April 2008.

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Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Attorney General 12:30 pm, 29th April 2008

I am grateful to the Minister for his explanations and accept them entirely. I can see that the amendments could have the consequences that he has described. I am grateful to him also for having outlined a little more clearly how the clause is designed to operate.

I know that we will consider an amendment on appeals in a moment, but perhaps this is an appropriate moment to return to the generality of the clause, which is whether an express provision should be made so that, for example, the police might provide a photocopy of a document that somebody needed. I appreciate that that might be a very rare occurrence, partly because of the very short period of time involved, but it troubles me slightly. There must be a potential risk that the police  will inadvertently seize a document that is required the following morning for a pressing legal reason. Such things can happen.

One possibility is to allow for discretion to provide copies, but obviously only if the police were satisfied that that would not conflict with any provision of subsection (3). The second, which I shall come to in relation to the next amendment, is to have a mechanism to provide for an appeal if there are urgent grounds for challenging the retention of documents for a short period of time, or if there is a pressing need for a document. I simply throw that in as something that the Minister may like to consider before Report.