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Summary Convictions (Appeals)

Volume 940: debated on Wednesday 30 November 1977

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31.

asked the Lord Advocate whether he will meet the Lord Justice-General to consider the present facilities for the hearing of appeals against summary conviction.

I have no present plans to do so. Procedure for appeals in summary cases was one of the matters recently considered by the Thomson Committee on criminal procedure in Scotland. The committee's third report is likely to be published next month.

Does the Lord Advocate share the complacent disinterest evidenced by the answer of the Under-Secretary earlier this afternoon? If not, what attempt will he make to persuade his right hon. and hon. Friends to make a more constructive and quicker response on the matter?

I refute any suggestion that my right hon. and hon. Friends in the Scottish Office are complacent in any respect in this matter. Let me say, however, in response to points canvassed earlier this afternoon by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind), that there is a serious debate about what improvements, if any, can be made in summary appeals. This is being considered by the Government and, as my right hon. Friend has already said, this will be considered when the Thomson Committee makes its third report.