Clause 123 - Application, recall and variation

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 John McWilliam Mr John McWilliam Llafur, Blaydon

With this it will be convenient to take the following: Government amendments Nos. 227 and 228.

Clause stand part.

Government amendment No. 229.

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

This is a drafting amendment. Subsection (1)(b) is redundant, as there is no order-making power in clause 122(4). Amendment No. 227 is a drafting amendment designed to make it clear that any person who is affected by the order can apply to the court to have it recalled or varied. Such persons include not only the person against whom the order was made but also a third party who may not be specified in the restraint order. A third party might, for example, have a legitimate claim to property referred to in the restraint order and might be unable to gain access to it because of the restraint order.

Amendment No. 228 deletes subsection (11) because it is redundant, by virtue of the obligation placed on the prosecutor by subsection (3) to notify every person affected by a restraint order. Amendment No. 229 is similar to amendment No. 227, and amends clause 124 to make it clear that any person affected by a restraint order—not any person with an interest in it—can appeal to the Court of Session. I hope that that is clear.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath 3:30, 6 Rhagfyr 2001

I have a brief, but important, point to make. My hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield and I, along with many other Committee members, argued for the protection of entirely innocent third parties when we dealt with earlier clauses relating to England and Wales—we will discuss Northern Ireland later. The Government ensured that those protections were voted down.

In recent debates, the Government have made a feature of trying to bring the procedures in Scotland in line, as much as possible, with those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. That has been the Ministers' consistent theme, and they have been supported by their Back Benchers. The Government are now proposing provisions to protect innocent third parties. It would appear that they think that such third parties need protection in Scotland but not in England.

That is outrageous. Perhaps there is a connection with what the Minister was saying a short while ago about the number of Scottish Labour Committee members. I agree that entirely innocent third parties in Scotland should be protected, but why should not such people receive protection in England? It is outrageous that the Government spoke against—and even voted down—our proposals to protect innocent third parties south of the border.

It is incumbent on the Minister to reply to that point now and subsequently to write to me—and to other Committee members—to explain what possible justification there can be for providing protections for innocent third parties north of border, given that the Government voted us down when we sought to introduce them south of the border.

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

I do not understand that point. After the amendments are made—which I hope they will be—the situation in Scotland will be the same as in England and Wales.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 227, in page 76, line 19, leave out 'having an interest' and insert 'affected by the order'.

No. 228, in page 76, line 39, leave out subsection (11).—[Mr. Foulkes.]

Clause 123, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.