Forced Marriage etc (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

– in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd March 2011.

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Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

The next item of business is stage 3 proceedings on the Forced Marriage etc (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Bill. In dealing with the amendments, members should have: the bill as amended at stage 2, which is SP bill 53A; the marshalled list of amendments, which is SP bill 53A-ML; and the groupings, which I have agreed as Presiding Officer. If there is a division, the division bell will sound and proceedings will be suspended for five minutes for the first division. The period of voting for the first division will be 30 seconds. Thereafter, we will have a voting period of one minute for the first division after a debate, with all other divisions being 30 seconds.

Section 7—Variation and recall of orders

Amendment 1, in the name of the minister, is grouped with amendments 2, 3 and 4.

Photo of Alex Neil Alex Neil Scottish National Party

I lodged amendments 1 to 4 as a result of the on-going dialogue on the bill between the Government and the Law Society of Scotland. As the bill stands, an individual who had no involvement in the original proceedings for an order under part 1 of the bill, and who is not otherwise directly affected by the order, is unable to apply to vary, recall or extend the order. That might cause a difficulty for the victim, if the original application was made by a support agency and the victim then moves to another part of Scotland and wishes to rely on a different support agency to apply to vary, recall or extend the order. Given that the bill already makes provision for other persons, including the victim and those who would be affected by the order, to apply to vary, recall or extend the original order without leave of the court, it is not thought that that difficulty will arise often. The amendments are intended to ensure that no such difficulty will arise, however infrequent. I therefore ask members to support amendments 1 to 4.

I move amendment 1.

Amendment 1 agreed to.

Amendment 2 moved—[Alex Neil]—and agreed to.

Section 8—Extension of orders

Amendments 3 and 4 moved—[Alex Neil]—and agreed to.

Section 9—Offence of breaching order

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

Amendment 5, in the name of Alex Neil, is in a group on its own.

Photo of Alex Neil Alex Neil Scottish National Party

Amendment 5 will ensure that if a person is convicted for breach of a forced marriage protection order, that person cannot thereafter be punished again for contempt of court for the same conduct that constituted the breach. Although the person cannot thereafter be punished for contempt, the amendment will not alter the fact that the individual could still be convicted of a separate criminal offence, such as assault. The amendment will therefore ensure that any criminal offence in relation to conduct involving cases of forced marriage can be prosecuted by the courts and sentenced appropriately.

I move amendment 5.

Amendment 5 agreed to.

Section 17—Crown application

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

Amendment 6, in the name of Alex Neil, is in a group on its own.

Photo of Alex Neil Alex Neil Scottish National Party

Amendment 6, the final Government amendment, will put it beyond doubt that Her Majesty will not in any way be affected in her private capacity by the bill. In particular, it will make it clear that Her Majesty cannot be made criminally liable under section 9(1) of the bill for breach of a forced marriage protection order or for breach of any equivalent offence in an order under section 10 relating to civil partnerships. I hope that the Parliament will vote for amendment 6 and that I will appear in the next honours list as a consequence.

I move amendment 6.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

Remarkably, no one has asked to add further comment to that.

Amendment 6 agreed to.

Her Majesty will be greatly relieved.