Clause 98

Part of Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 6:45 pm ar 27 Tachwedd 2007.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Shadow Minister (Justice) 6:45, 27 Tachwedd 2007

I think that I have made my point. The measure looks rather heavy-handed. Will the Minister consider what will allow a sentence of imprisonment, let alone a five-year sentence, for the offences described in clause 98? We are told, although I find it difficult to believe, that this is essentially a civil process. However, it is a civil process whereby people get banged up for five years if they do not notify the authorities of some relevant information. We need to keep some balance. It is either a civil process or it is not. It is either a serious crime or it is not. A five-year maximum is a heavy maximum. People can commit serious muggings, burglaries and drug offences and still not get five years.

If five years is to be the maximum sentence for simply not notifying people, that brings me back to the data protection issue that I did not talk about under clause 75. If we are to see fiascos such as the HMRC disaster, we need to be clear about the circumstances in which people will potentially be given quite heavy jail sentences.