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Clause 18

Part of Counter-Terrorism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:15 pm on 29th April 2008.

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Photo of David Heath David Heath Liberal Democrat, Somerton and Frome 5:15 pm, 29th April 2008

The hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield has very clearly set out the concerns that I touched on earlier. I have two issues with this clause, and neither of them are to do with the effective sharing of information and the making of better investigatory powers. The first point has just been touched on, which is the extent to which the embodiment of information from the security and intelligence services into police evidence, which may then be relied on in court or may have admissibility, causes some of the complications with which we are very familiar because of what we have been told about intercept evidence. It seems to me that that is a real possibility and one that we should be aware of before we perhaps cause an unintended consequence to the security and intelligence services.

I think that the Minister allayed my principal concerns in his reply to my earlier intervention. My second concern is that the process could be used, in effect, to launder inappropriate material to a point at which it becomes lawful and admissible, but when its  provenance is rather more dubious because it has been unlawfully gained from sources outwith the British law enforcement community. It would worry me if such material became admissible in a court of law and was used for evidential purposes, and if, as a result of the procedure in clause 18, it became the property of the British police service. I think that the Minister has reassured me on that. Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman is about to un-reassure me.