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Commons Amendment

Volume 413: debated on Tuesday 21 October 1980

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87 Clause 57, page 43, line 11, at end insert: Provided that where the person is serving, or is to serve, a period of imprisonment or detention no account shall be taken, in assessing such means, of earnings contingent upon his obtaining employment after release.'.

My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 87. This amendment is aimed at cases where an offender is already serving or about to serve some form of custodial sentence. Its purpose is to make clear that when making a compensation order in such cases, courts should not include in an assessment of the means of the offender earnings which he might have if he obtains employment upon his release. The Government agree with the arguments of the Dunpark Committee that to include such hypothetical earnings would be wrong and that the courts in Scotland should not follow the decision in an English case, Regina v Kneeshaw, where an assessment made on this basis by an inferior court was upheld on appeal. This amendment makes clear therefore that the courts should not take into account earnings which depend on an offender obtaining employment on leaving custody.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said amendment.—( The Earl of Mansfield.)

My Lords, we should congratulate the Government on their good sense in facing facts. With 250,000 unemployed in Scotland, it would not be wise to count on the earnings of a person who is in prison on the basis that he might find employment. There is little chance of that.

On Question, Motion agreed to.