Clause 28

Part of Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 7:15 pm on 20 November 2007.

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Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Shadow Minister (Justice) 7:15, 20 November 2007

I think that I probably agree with the hon. Gentleman. All I wanted to say, and I have said it several times, is that we should not allow planted questions to lead to the unfair abuse of judges. I say that because I had been sitting in court, and on adjournment I met judges who had been listed in The Sun or whatever newspaper it is that carries those lists. If the Committee had seen the anguish of those people, who felt that their integrity and judicial conduct was being savaged quite improperly, it would understand what I am saying. I do not suggest that Ministers deliberately set out to boil the reputations of individual judges, but it is a consequence of those planted questions. Of course, as the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth says, there is a public interest in knowing that the Court of Appeal is increasing sentences that are unduly lenient, but we do not need to go on from that and pick out individual judges and pillory them as though they were proper subjects of personal abuse.