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Clause 32

Part of Counter-Terrorism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 8th May 2008.

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Photo of Douglas Hogg Douglas Hogg Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham 4:00 pm, 8th May 2008

Although I would like to think that the Minister is right in his interpretation of statutory language, I fear that he is not. Let us go back to the starting point. We are dealing with a fictional Mr. McNulty who gives his car to a garage. The garage proprietor uses or intends to use the car for terrorist purposes and is convicted. At that point, Mr. McNulty’s car is forfeited. What are Mr. McNulty’s rights? They are set out in clause 34, particularly in new section 23B. Mr. McNulty has a right to go to the court that made the confiscation order, claiming to be the owner or to be otherwise interested in anything that was forfeited. He has a right to go to the court, but what is the court to do? Subsection (2) of new section 23B states:

“In considering whether to make an order under section 23 or 23A in respect of any property, a court shall have regard to”— only two criteria—

“the value of the property”,

which is Mr. McNulty’s car, and

“the likely financial and other effects on the convicted person”,

who is the garage proprietor,

“of the making of the order”,

taken together with any other order that the court contemplates making. There is absolutely nothing in the clause that gives the court a duty to consider the interests of the fictional Mr. McNulty—nothing whatever. That is the objection.