Examination of Witness

Part of Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 10th July 2018.

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Mrs Miller:

This morning, listening to Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, he was really saying, “If this is expanded any more, it leads to more to deal with in the legislation.” If anything, however, the amendments would make the life of the police a lot easier, because they would not have to prove sexual gratification, which I am told is extremely difficult to prove, nor would they have to prove that a victim was subject to humiliation or alarm and distress, which again are not always the easiest things to prove. What they have to prove is that a photograph was taken. I would have thought that that was much more straightforward in scope.

One issue that Members raised in the Second Reading Committee, and that the Minister has raised, is that the legislation might lead to more offences being caught because, potentially, it would capture more young people who are simply taking photographs in a way that might be seen more as jovial or as a bit of a laugh. I have to say that I have yet to meet any victim of this crime, of whatever age, who thinks it is a bit of a laugh. The impact on the victim is as great if it is done for that reason as if it is done for sexual gratification.

I also point out to the Committee that the Government already have dealing with young offenders well under control: Crown Prosecution Service guidance on the charging of young people with any offence is already in place. In particular, that was gone into in great detail when the Sexual Offences Act 2003 was discussed. The noble Lord Falconer discussed it then and it was clearly set out in CPS guidance that it was not Parliament’s intent to punish children unnecessarily or inappropriately. I therefore do not think that that will be quite the issue that has been drawn out in conversations about the Bill.