Clause 22

Part of Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 5:00 pm ar 20 Tachwedd 2007.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of David Burrowes David Burrowes Shadow Minister (Justice) 5:00, 20 Tachwedd 2007

That is quite right. The point of the amendments is to consider a sliding scale and whether that minimum could be set on the sliding scale between 20 and 50. Without getting too wrapped up in the individual numbers, could there be more flexibility explicit in the Bill to ensure that magistrates do not feel that they have to work to a prescribed level when dealing with a breach of a community order? That is the point of the amendments.

Let me turn now to the stand part debate. The concern is about dealing with defendants who have breached the community order and the need to impose an unpaid work requirement. Such people, who would no doubt often have a rehabilitation order imposed on them rather than a community punishment order, may not be suitable for unpaid work when that order is made. They might have health issues, or they may be an addict whose probation officer has determined that they are unsuitable for unpaid work. They would come before the magistrates after breaching the community order and, on the face of it, would not be eligible for the imposition of unpaid work. The concern is about whether the clause would impose an inappropriate sentence on those defendants.

I would also like the Minister to consider the question of flexibility. Magistrates might often want, not always as a matter of compulsion, to impose an additional penalty when there is a breach. Will the Minister also consider the unusual circumstances in which an order might break down through no fault of the defendant beyond a technical non-compliance? There might be a need to consider discretion.