Clause 38 - Code for Prosecutors

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 6:30 pm ar 5 Chwefror 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office, Parliamentary Secretary (Northern Ireland Office) 6:30, 5 Chwefror 2002

When I first spoke to the amendments, my original view was that the provision for consultation with the Attorney-General and Advocate-General, to which the hon. Member for Reigate referred, was sufficient as set out in clause 42. Like the hon. Gentleman, I thought that it would not be appropriate to be more prescriptive on consultation at this stage. However, I have considered the provision further and, for the reasons that all hon. Members have articulated in the debate so far, I can see a role for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in the consultation. The hon. Member for Reigate can also see such a role for the commission in the consultation, which was the thrust of his argument--until he explained that he did not think that it was appropriate because it would put the commission on a par with the Attorney-General and the Advocate-General. I accept that point. I can see a role, but for the reasons that have already been articulated, I cannot see a role for the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in this process. I certainly cannot see a role for an unlimited group of people who are not capable of definition.

On amendment No. 204, the Government endorse recommendation 50 of the review that the code of practice and ethics should be based on the UN guidelines on the role of the prosecutor. The guidelines will provide an invaluable benchmark for standards in the prosecution of offences. It is inconceivable that the Director of Public Prosecutions would not consider such an instrument when he is compiling a code of practice or ethics. Whether it would be appropriate or necessary to put that—

Sitting suspended for a Division in the House.

On resuming—

It being after Seven o'clock, The Chairman proceeded, pursuant to Sessional Order D [28 June 2001] and the Orders of the Committee [29 and 31 January 2002], to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question put and negatived.

The Chairman then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at that time.

Clause 38 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 39 to 44 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause 2Provision of reasons not to institute or continue proceedings