Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:45 pm ar 14 Chwefror 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mr Seamus Mallon Mr Seamus Mallon Social Democratic and Labour Party, Newry and Armagh 2:45, 14 Chwefror 2002

I take the point that those fears should not exist. It is not so long ago that other hon. Members and I sat in a Committee Room like this one, dealing with a similar piece of legislation, the outcome of which tended to disprove the faith that my hon. Friend's comment reveals. I believe that he suffered as much as I did in that connection.

I am talking not about big bangs, but about tightening an essential piece of legislation and inserting some newness into it. I cast no aspersions on the DPP or deputy DPP. For the life of me I could not say who either of them is, so there is nothing personal in my amendment. However, there is something wrong because it might be 30 years before this part of the Bill is implemented, which is too long. Many of us in Committee would not even live to see that, yet it is the cornerstone of the whole new approach. There are ways, which have been applied before, of allowing natural justice to apply to the incumbent DPP or deputy DPP, while abiding by the recommendations in the criminal justice review. I emphasise that I have no lack of confidence in the DPP, but from experience, if I were the DPP or deputy DPP and heard such overt expressions of confidence from the Government and the Attorney-General, I would take a quick look in my filing cabinet to see where my P45 was.

I do not want to prolong the discussion, but I urge the Committee to support the amendment.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 1, Noes 15.