Clause 99

– in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 10th March 2009.

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Indictment of offenders

Photo of Bridget Prentice Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice

I beg to move amendment 291, in clause 99, page 59, line 40, leave out ‘fitness to plead’ and insert

‘whether the accused did the act or made the omission charged’.

The amendment has been tabled because the clause as drafted is in error. In defining the point at which no objection to an indictment is to be taken, the clause states:

“when a jury is sworn to consider the issue of guilt or fitness to plead”.

Since the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, it has been the sitting judge alone who makes a determination of fitness to plead. The amendment deals with that oversight and makes it clear that, where the judge finds a defendant unfit to plead, the relevant point after which no objections can be taken to the indictment is when the jury is sworn to consider whether the accused did the act or made the omission as charged.

Amendment 291 agreed to.

Clause 99, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.