The House of Lords Committee stage hearing of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill commenced on 12 November 2013 and in view of its size, a further 5 days have been scheduled for the line-by-line consideration of its 14 sections, 162 clauses and 9 schedules. These are now scheduled for 18, 20, 25 November and 2, 4 December. The amendments discussed to date have covered: Schedule 5, which concerns amendments of Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003; clauses 106-109 within Parts 9 and 10 of the Bill, on Protection from Sexual Harm and Violence, and Forced Marriages; and clauses 151-152 within Part 13 of the Bill, Criminal Justice and Court Fees, which deal with compensation for miscarriages of justice and low-value shoplifting, respectively.
The Second Marshalled List of Amendments details the amendments to be moved in committee, which will inevitably be supplemented by additional amendments and these will be available on the web page providing links to all Bill documents.
To date the areas debated have been relatively uncontroversial and there has been no unexpected opposition to the amendments:
Withdrawn: 1 to 3, 5 to 8, 11, 14 to 16, 18 and 19
Not moved: 4, 8A to 10, 11A to 12B, 13, 17
At the end of the debate, Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Con) stated [12 Nov 2013 : Column 720]
“by agreement with the usual channels today, our business next Monday has changed. It will be the second day in Committee on the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill and it will not be the first day on Report of the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill”.
The Church Times indicates that this debate on the Banking Reform Bill was postponed so that the Archbishop of Canterbury could participate and avoid a clash with his presence at the Church of England General Synod. The BBC reports that in parallel with this has been pressure from Lord McFall of Alcluith, (Lab) and the opposition front bench for further time for the scrutiny of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, given the substantial number of amendments made to the Bill.
The amendments to be considered by the Lords on 18 November address Part 1 of the Bill: Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance. These include important proposed changes:
Amendment 19C, (Lord Dear, Baroness Mallalieu): Page 1, line 7, leave out “on the balance of probabilities” and insert “beyond reasonable doubt”
Amendment 20D, (Lord Dear, Baroness Mallalieu): Page 1, line 10, leave out “just and convenient” and insert “necessary and proportionate”
Amendment 22A, (Baroness Smith of Basildon, Lord Rosser): Insert the following new Clause—“Corporate anti-social behaviour order
(1) It is an offence for a corporate body to act in a manner that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons.
(2) In this section “corporate body” has the same meaning as in Part 12 of the Corporation Tax Act 2009 (see section 1005 of that Act).
(3) The Secretary of State shall, by regulations, set out the circumstances under which an offence has been committed under subsection (1).”
A lively debate is expected following the reported comments of former DPP Lord Macdonald, which suggested inter alia that under its draconian new powers designed to clamp on anyone deemed “annoying”, Christian preachers, buskers and peaceful protesters could effectively be driven off the streets.