Clause 331 - Offences of prejudicing investigation

Part of Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:30 am ar 29 Ionawr 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 10:30, 29 Ionawr 2002

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point. I shall return to it in a moment. The specific problem that hit me when I first read the provision was that it includes a ''money laundering investigation''. How is that intended to dovetail with the offence of tipping off under clause 325? We are creating two almost identical offences, the only difference being that the scope of the offences that can be committed under clause 331 is slightly wider.

I have sometimes described the Bill as ''draconian'', and its intention certainly seems to be to criminalise anyone who transgresses, right, left and centre. Is there not a little overkill in the clause, in that it refers to two offences, one under the money-laundering provisions and one under the investigations provisions, given that one could be subsumed into the other? It is undesirable for Parliament to pass a plethora of criminal sanctions when only one may be necessary.

The hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Stinchcombe) has made a good point. Perhaps we should also consider whether the attempt at a catch-all provision for all three investigations reads properly. The Minister may wish to take on board that point, which did not occur to me when I first read the clause; it may merit consideration.

I should be grateful if the Minister would explain how the Government intend the clause to work, compared with clause 325. This is a probing amendment; I thought that the best way to facilitate our discussions would be to suggest deleting the reference to money laundering, and it would also enable the Minister to learn a little beforehand about the point that I was trying to raise.