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Clause 29

Part of Counter-Terrorism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 8th May 2008.

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Photo of Elfyn Llwyd Elfyn Llwyd Shadow Spokesperson (Innovation, Universities and Skills), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Chief Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice) 3:15 pm, 8th May 2008

We have had a very interesting debate. For once, I disagree with the right hon. and learned Member and my reason for that is, first, I do not  believe that what is being proposed brings the jury into sentencing. Clearly, the jury should have no role in sentencing; we all agree on that, I am sure.

I mentioned the Homicide Act 1957 in passing. We entrust the jury, albeit with specialist medical evidence and so on, as well as requiring them to look at the circumstances of the offence, with deciding, “Is this a case of murder, or do we accept this person’s plea of manslaughter based on diminished responsibility?” That we do.

Let us say, for example, that the jury come back—I, and other people, have seen it in court—and say, “We accept the plea of diminished responsibility, therefore we find that he is guilty of manslaughter.” If we follow the argument of the right hon. and learned Member, the jury take part in sentencing, because what is open to the judge is severely limited, compared with what was open to the judge when the offence was murder.