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Commons Amendment

Volume 413: debated on Tuesday 21 October 1980

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43 Clause 21, page 19, line 29, leave out subsection (2).

My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 43. This is a more important amendment than those with which we have been dealing recently. It was moved in another place by the honourable Member for Glasgow, Garscadden. It limits the power for a court to allow a trial to proceed in the accused's absence if he misconducts himself to solemn procedure. That is a suggestion that was made by some noble Lords in this House. I remember particularly that the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, made the suggestion. It was supported in various parts of the House. The noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, supported the suggestion and we agreed to consider it.

Having considered the matter carefully, we have come to the conclusion that as long as the power remains in solemn procedure it is adequate for our purpose. Accordingly, we have restricted it to that.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said amendment.—( Lord Mackay of Clashfern.)

My Lords, we are very glad that the Lord Advocate has looked at this. It is rather intriguing that on an earlier amendment I heard a Minister say that he would look at some- thing. If he looked at it, it puzzled me what he was going to do after we had passed the Lords' amendments. I did not think that we would have another opportunity to do anything after we had looked at it. But the Lord Advocate had ample opportunity, he used the opportunity well, and we are grateful for the change that has been made.

My Lords, may I thank the noble and learned Lord. I am sure that that is the right course, and I am glad that the Government agreed to it.

On Question, Motion agreed to.