Clause 122 - Restraint orders etc

Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:15 pm ar 6 Rhagfyr 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office) 3:15, 6 Rhagfyr 2001

I beg to move Government amendment No. 217, in clause 122, page 75, line 33, leave out 'in respect of which the order is made' and insert

'which falls within subsection (4A)'.

Photo of Mr John McWilliam Mr John McWilliam Llafur, Blaydon

With this we may take Government amendments Nos. 218 to 225 and clause stand part.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office)

Amendments Nos. 217 and 218 prevent funds that are under restraint from being released to pay legal expenses to defend the criminal charges in respect of which the restraint order is made or legal expenses incurred in the confiscation proceedings. Legal aid will be available in the normal way. The amendments bring clause 122 into line with clause 46 in part 2, on which we had an extensive discussion.

Amendment No. 219 is primarily a drafting amendment, and amendments Nos. 220 to 225 are mainly drafting amendments designed to tidy up subsection (7).

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I am grateful to the Minister for his explanation. This is another area where the Bill's Scottish and English components differed. On part 2, we discussed extending legal aid and whether someone should be allowed to draw down for legal aid the sums under restraint. That was not allowed and the Minister will remember that I argued that it should be; in the Scottish system, precisely what I argued for was allowed but is now being removed. I think that I have understood correctly that that is what he is saying. The regime was quite different, yet when the Bill was presented it was suggested that the Scottish system was perfectly viable, or the Government would not have gone along with it.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

I know that we are not, at the moment, blessed with the presence of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Pollok—[Hon. Members: ''Oh yes we are.''] He has arrived on cue. You will recall, Mr. McWilliam, if you were in the Chair—and if you were not, I am sure that you will have read about it with interest in Hansard—that the hon. Gentleman was at pains to point out that no money should be spent on lawyers. He is no doubt pleased that the Minister has taken out the provisions that relate to reasonable living expenses and legal aid.

My hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield is right to point out that a traditional provision under Scots law is being removed. Have Members of the Scottish Parliament fully considered that provisions for reasonable living expenses and legal aid, which have existed in Scots law for many years, are being taken away? Has the Scottish Parliament been told that an English Minister—albeit one with a Scottish constituency—is planning to do that?

Photo of Mr John McWilliam Mr John McWilliam Llafur, Blaydon

Order. I hope that the hon. Gentleman is not suggesting that the clauses under discussion are ultra vires to Parliament. I assure him that they are not.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office)

Some 72 Members of Parliament represent Scotland. Some of them are members of the Committee. That is deliberate: it is no accident that there are so many Scottish Labour Members on the Committee. Following the general election, there is one Scottish Tory Member, but the Opposition have not put him on the Committee. Our discussions might have been improved if they had.

The amendment reflects the different legal aid systems in operation north and south of the border. The Bill takes account of that. Legal aid is available for restraint proceedings in Scotland. I hope that the hon. Member for Beaconsfield, at least, will understand the import of that.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 218, in page 75, line 35, at end insert—

'(4A) These offences fall within this subsection—

(a) the offence mentioned in section 121(2) or (3), if the first or second condition (as the case may be) is satisfied;

(b) the offence (or any of the offences) concerned, if the third, fourth or fifth condition is satisfied.'.

No. 219, in page 75, line 36, leave out subsections (5) and (6).

No. 220, in page 76, line 1, leave out from 'affect' to 'property' in line 2.

No. 221, in page 76, line 2, after 'under', insert


(a) section 9 of'.

No. 222, in page 76, line 3, after '(c.32),', insert '(b)'.

No. 223, in page 76, line 3, after '(c.33),', insert '(c) Article 14 of'.

No. 224, in page 76, line 5, after '(N.I.17)', insert

'(d) section 27 of the Drug Trafficking Act 1994 (c.37)'.

No. 225, in page 76, line 5, after 'or', insert '(e) Article 32 of'.—[Mr. Foulkes.]

Clause 122, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.