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Clause 32

Part of Counter-Terrorism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 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) 3:45 pm, 8th May 2008

I am following on precisely from that point. I am sure that the Minister will help us in a minute. What has been foreseen under clause 34 is a similar or more robust procedure that applied under the Police (Property) Act 1997—that both sides would be heard properly and a decision arrived at. I agree that the procedure must be robust, open and easily accessible to an innocent party who may lay claim to the property.

The hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield said that we must be careful not to cast the net too widely. No one in the Committee or elsewhere would say that it is wrong in principle to forfeit money or property that might have been involved in terrorist activity. I can advise the Committee of a case—I shall not name it because it is current and was decided in the last few days—of someone who has been convicted of theft of property worth less than £4,000. All the property was recovered, and he was sent down for a matter of weeks. He came out of prison to face one of these procedures. He had £7,000 in the bank and could prove precisely where the money had come from, but the judge was helpless and had to take the money from the offender. The net is already too wide, and we should apply care. I have no regard for any terrorist, and we must ensure that anything that is used in terrorism is properly taken away. There is no doubt about that, but we must be careful in this part of the Bill.