Clause 35 - Article 33(2): particularly serious crime

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 pm on 26 October 2021.

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Photo of Bambos Charalambous Bambos Charalambous Shadow Minister (Home Office) 5:30, 26 October 2021

I just wish to add to the points made by the SNP spokesperson. The whole UK criminal justice system is based on having magistrates courts that deal with the less serious offences, which have a maximum sentence of up to 12 months, and we then have the Crown court, which deals with the more serious offences, with a sentence above 12 months. Defining something as serious with 12 months’ imprisonment seems to be contrary to other aspects of our judicial system.

Labour also has concerns about people who have been trafficked who may have been forced to commit offences. They may have been convicted of a criminal offence as a result of their trafficking, whether that is because of drugs, prostitution or another such offence that might attract a penalty above 12 months. We have some concerns about the redefinition and I wonder whether the Minister can clarify what might happen to someone who has been trafficked, has committed an offence and has received a sentence of 12 months. Would the clause apply to them, because that does raise concerns about it? I do not know whether he will be able to assist in that regard.