Breach of order

Domestic Abuse Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 10th June 2020.

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Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice 3:30 pm, 10th June 2020

I beg to move amendment 31, in clause 36, page 23, line 29, leave out

“section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003” and insert

“paragraph 24(2) of Schedule 22 to the Sentencing Act 2020”.

This amendment, and amendments 32, 34, 35 and 37, update references to existing legislation in the Bill to refer to the equivalent provision made by the Sentencing Bill that was introduced into Parliament in March (which will introduce the new Sentencing Code).

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

With this it will be convenient to consider the following:

Government amendments 32, 34, 35 and 37.

New clause 15—Consequential amendments of the Sentencing Code—

“(1) The Sentencing Code is amended as follows.

(2) In section 80 (order for conditional discharge), in subsection (3), at the end insert—

‘(f) section 36(6) (breach of domestic abuse protection order).’

(3) In Chapter 6 of Part 11 (other behaviour orders), before section 379 (but after the heading ‘Other orders’) insert—

See Part 3 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2020 (and in particular section 28(3) of that Act) for the power of a court to make a domestic abuse protection order when dealing with an offender for an offence.’”

This New Clause makes two consequential amendments to the Sentencing Code as a result of Part 3 of the Bill. The first adds a reference to clause 36(6) to the list of cases where an order for conditional discharge is not available. The second inserts a signpost to Part 3 of the Bill into Part 11 of the Sentencing Code, which deals with behaviour orders.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Am I permitted to speak to all the amendments? They are all quite technical.

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

At this stage, we are debating all the amendments I referred to. You have to move only amendment 31 at this moment, but you can talk about them all.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

That is eminently sensible.

These are minor and technical Government amendments. Clause 36 provides that a breach of a DAPO is a criminal offence. Where someone is convicted of such an offence, clause 36(6) provides that a conditional discharge is not an option open to the court in respect of the offence. As I am sure hon. Members are aware, a conditional discharge means that the offender is released and no further action is taken unless the offender commits another offence within the specified period, at which point they can be sentenced for the first offence at the same time as the new offence.

Misconduct by members of the armed forces and by civilians subject to service discipline, which is an offence in England and Wales—or would be, if it took place there—may also be charged as a service offence under the disciplinary regime of the Armed Forces Act 2006. It means that a breach of a DAPO may come before the court martial and other service courts.

Amendment 33 to clause 36—I will come to amendments 31 and 32 in a moment—makes equivalent provision to clause 36(6), whereas—

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

Order. Amendment 33 is not on the list, so it is not really worth talking about—[Interruption.] It is definitely later on my list, so we may have different lists. Oh, go on—talk about it.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice 3:45 pm, 10th June 2020

It is that kind of flexibility in the Chair that we have grown to love and admire. Thank you very much, Mr Bone.

I was saying that amendment 33 makes equivalent provision to clause 36(6). When a service court convicts someone of the offence of a breach of a DAPO, a conditional discharge is not an option that is open to the service court in respect of the offence. Amendments 38 and 39 would make consequential amendments to the extent clause—clause 71—to ensure that the extent of new clause 36(6)(a), inserted by amendment 33, aligns with the extent of the Armed Forces Act 2016. That is a long-winded way of saying that we need to make sure that this measure dovetails with the 2016 Act in respect of the conditional discharge implications.

Amendments 31, 32, 34, 35 and 37, which I hope are on your list Mr Bone, make amendments to part 3 of the Bill—as we know, part 3 provides for DAPOs—and clause 59—

“Prohibition of cross-examination in person in family proceedings”— and are consequential on the sentencing code. In turn, new clause 15 makes two consequential amendments to the sentencing code as a result of part 3. The first adds a reference to clause 36(6) to the list of cases where an order for conditional discharge is not available. The second inserts a signpost to part 3 of the Bill into part 11 of the sentencing code, which deals with behaviour orders, such as a DAPO.

Members may be asking, “What on earth is the Sentencing Bill?” The Sentencing Bill, which was introduced in the House of Lords on 5 March 2020, provides for the new sentencing code. The new code, which will be transformational for practitioners, is a consolidation of the law governing sentencing procedure in England and Wales. It brings together the procedural provisions that sentencing courts need to rely on during the sentencing process, and in doing so it aims to ensure that the law relating to sentencing procedure is readily comprehensible, and operates within a clear framework and as efficiently as possible.

Amendment 31 agreed to.

Amendments made: 32, in clause 36, page 23, line 36, leave out from “under” to “(conditional” and insert “section 80 of the Sentencing Code”.

See the explanatory statement for amendment 31.

Amendment 33, in clause 36, page 23, line 37, at end insert—

“(6A) If a person is convicted of an offence under section 42 of the Armed Forces Act 2006 as respects which the corresponding offence under the law of England and Wales (within the meaning given by that section) is an offence under this section, it is not open to the service court that convicted the person to make, in respect of the offence, an order under section 185 of that Act (conditional discharge).

In this subsection “service court” means the Court Martial or the Service Civilian Court.”.—

Conduct that is an offence under the law of England and Wales (or would be if it took place there) may be charged as a service offence, so a breach of a domestic abuse protection order may be dealt with by a service court. This amendment therefore makes provision corresponding to that made by clause 36(6), prohibiting a service court from giving a person a conditional discharge for breaching an order.

Clause 36, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.