Clause 296 - Release of detained cash

Part of Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:30 pm ar 10 Ionawr 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath 2:30, 10 Ionawr 2002

I beg to move amendment No. 418, in page 171, line 36, leave out paragraph (b).

As I said, we argue that the amendment goes in the same direction as Government amendment No. 330. We felt that clause 296 as originally drafted went too wide. Working along the same lines as the Government have in amendment No. 330, we suggest that it would be helpful to delete paragraph (b) of subsection (5).

Subsection (5) states that cash is not to be released if in the United Kingdom or elsewhere

''proceedings are started against any person for an offence''

—which means any offence—

''with which the cash is connected, until the proceedings are concluded.''

That seems to us to be an extremely wide exclusion. We understand why subsection (5)(a) should be included. There is clearly a good reason for it. However, we are reinforced in our belief that paragraph (b) takes the matter too wide. Once again the Law Society of Scotland takes the same view as my hon. Friends and I and has suggested the amendment to delete paragraph (b). I shall listen with interest to the Minister's comments, but I feel bolstered not only by the Law Society of Scotland but by the fact that the Government, on further reflection, had already decided that the clause as originally drafted was too draconian, as the Minister said in moving the previous amendment.