Amendments relating to offences committed outside the UK

Domestic Abuse Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 11th June 2020.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Karen Buck Karen Buck Labour, Westminster North

With this it will convenient to discuss schedule 2 stand part.

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

The clause simply reintroduces schedule 2, which contains amendments relating to offences committed outside the UK. As with clauses 60 and 61, the amendments are necessary to ensure compliance with article 44 of the Istanbul convention. Part 1 of schedule 2 contains amendments to provide for extraterritorial jurisdiction over certain offences other than those set out in clause 60 under the law of England and Wales. Part 2 of schedule 2 contains amendments to provide for extraterritorial jurisdiction over certain offences under the law of Scotland. Part 3 of schedule 2 contains amendments to provide for extraterritorial jurisdiction over certain offences not including those set out in clause 61 under the law of Northern Ireland.

Schedule 2 contains amendments to a number of enactments to provide for extraterritorial jurisdiction over certain offences under the law of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Together with clauses 60 and 61 and provisions in the Domestic Abuse and Family Proceedings Bill currently before the Northern Ireland Assembly that give extraterritorial effect to the new domestic abuse offence in Northern Ireland, schedule 2 will ensure that the UK complies with the jurisdiction requirements of article 44 of the Istanbul convention.

Part 1 of the schedule covers England and Wales and gives effect to the UK’s obligations under article 44 as it applies to article 33, which covers psychological violence, article 34, which covers stalking, and article 36, which covers sexual violence, including rape. It does so by extending extraterritorial jurisdiction to offences under sections 4 and 4A of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, sections 1 to 4 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 where the victim of the offence is aged 18 or over, and section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015, which is about coercive control. It will mean that a UK national or a person habitually resident in England and Wales who commits one of these offences outside the UK can, exceptionally, stand trial for the offence in England and Wales. Where the offence involves a course of conduct, the offence may be committed wholly or partly outside the UK.

Part 2 of the schedule covers Scotland and gives effect to the UK’s obligations under article 44 as it applies to articles 33 to 36 and article 39. It does so by extending extraterritorial jurisdiction to the common law offence of assault, to offences under sections 1 to 4 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 where the victim of the offence is aged 18 or over, and to the offence of stalking under section 39 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.

That will mean that a UK national or person habitually resident in Scotland who commits one of these offences outside the UK can, exceptionally, stand trial for the offence in Scotland. Where the offence involves a course of conduct, the offence may be committed wholly or partly outside the UK.

Part 3 of the schedule, as the Committee will be cottoning on to by now, covers Northern Ireland and gives effect to the UK’s obligations under article 44 as it applies to article 34 and 36. It does so by extending extraterritorial jurisdiction to offences under article 6 of the Protection from Harassment (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 and part 2 of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008, again where the victim of the offence is aged 18 or over. It will mean that a UK national or person habitually resident in Northern Ireland who commits one of these offences outside the UK can, exceptionally, stand trial for the offence in Northern Ireland. Where the offence involves a course of conduct, the offence may be committed wholly or partly outside the UK.

Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Shadow Minister (Home Office)

I simply want to welcome specifically the terminology of “habitual resident” within the UK. The Minister and I have met a number of different families over the years who have suffered violence, and I am afraid to say that those cases we get to see usually involve murder in a different country. Where the perpetrator of the crime was back here in Britain and was not a British citizen but was habitually resident in this country, the authorities had found that their hands were tied. While the measures seem perfunctory and were a lot of words for the Minister to say, to families they mean a huge amount, so I welcome them.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 62 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 2 agreed to.