§ 2.45 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER of STATE, HOME OFFICE (LORD STONHAM)
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.
§ Moved, That the House do again resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Stonham.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The EARL OF LISTOWEL in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1 [Care Proceedings in Juvenile Courts]:
BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER moved Amendment No. 2:
Page 2, line 1, leave out paragraph (e).
§ The noble Baroness said: I am extremely grateful to my noble friend Lady Serota for having enlightened me upon a number of points relating to this clause which I raised at Second Reading. I would particularly thank her for having called my attention to my own deficiencies in homework in not having mastered the fact that Clause 3 of the Bill answers my question about the standard of proof in cases in which a child or young person is brought before the court and is liable to be found guilty of an offence. I now fully understand that the standard of proof is to be the same as that in the criminal courts.
§ I am also grateful to my noble friend for having called my attention to what I suspected was the case; that is, that the age at which a child can be found guilty of an offence is covered by the Act of 1933 as amended by the Act of 1963. The section of the Act of 1963 lays down that no child under the age of 10 can be guilty of an offence, and that therefore Clause 1 of this Bill, in so far as the paragraph of which I am speaking at the moment applies, can be applied only to children over the age of 10.
§ On the question of age, however, I should like to say a little more. Legislation by reference is difficult enough, but legislation by implied reference is doubly difficult. And in this case we have legislation by implied reference. Anyone reading Clause 1 of the Bill as it stands will 767 see under subsection (2)(e) that any child or young person may be made the subject of a care order if he is guilty of an offence. The only limitation is contained, as I have said, in the provisions of the Act of 1933 as amended by the Act of 1963, which say that no child can be guilty of an offence if he is under the age of 10. I think it is unfortunate that the clause as it now stands does not make that clear. I know that the lawyers who will interpret this paragraph to benches of lay magistrates throughout the country will be well aware that, in spite of Clause 1 of this Bill, no child under the age of 10 can be found guilty of an offence. But I think it is unfortunate that any ordinary person reading the Bill will not become aware of that. I think it is also unfortunate because this clause will be read not only by people in this country but by people abroad who are immensely interested in the attitude of the Government of this country to children who are in difficulties. They will read it and we shall have to explain to them that it does not mean what it says; that it does not mean that any child or young person can be made the subject of a care order if he is guilty of an offence, because he cannot be guilty of an offence under the Act of 1963. I very much regret that, if this paragraph is to be retained in the Bill, the Government have not thought fit to make it perfectly plain that it is subject to the provisions of the Act of 1963. We need a little help in the interpretation of this extremely complicated Bill, and this is only one example of the criticism I have to make of it: that it is inordinately complicated and could have been made much more simple.
§ I have again to ask for the indulgence of the Committee, because owing to the complications of the Bill it is almost impossible to think out Amendments which do not land one in further difficulties. In considering the various Amendments which have been suggested I hope that the Government will have in mind not so much the detailed content of the Amendment as the intention and purpose behind it. Let me, therefore, remind the Committee of what the situation will be if this paragraph remains in the clause. The Act of 1963 will say that no child under the age of ten can be guilty of an offence. This Bill will say, Clause 1, that any 768 young person or child can be the subject of a care order because he is guilty of an offence. And if Clause 4 of this Bill remains in, it will say that no child under the age of fourteen can be charged with an offence. So though this clause does not say so, a child of ten and over can be guilty of an offence, but if Clause 4 remains he cannot be charged with an offence. This seems to me to be a grave complexity that we ought not to be asked to resolve.
§ At one time we used to think in very simple terms about this subject, and I think they were good terms. We used to talk about "the age of criminal responsibility". This has now apparently become a dirty term, and "the age of criminal responsibilty" has been dropped from the White Papers that preceded this Bill and from the Bill. When we talked about the age of criminal responsibility what we meant was that up to a certain age a child is too young to be brought before a criminal court and charged with a criminal offence, and is therefore not capable of committing a criminal offence. Above that age he is chargeable like an adult, though he will be dealt with only in a juvenile court. If he is giving trouble and difficulty below that age, then it may be that he is in need of some kind of care; he will be brought before the court and not charged with any offence, but his whole background and situation will be looked at, and it may be found that he is in need of care, protection or control. Therefore below the age of criminal responsibility a child who was giving difficulty or trouble could be dealt with as being in need of care, protection or control, and above the age of criminal responsibility he would be subject to a charge, but only in a special court. That seems to me to be a precise distinction and an intelligible procedure.
§ I think that in this Bill we are perhaps guilty of a certain hypocrisy, because we are trying to make out that the age of criminal responsibility is being raised to fourteen—in Clause 4, where no child may be charged with a criminal offence, except homicide, under fourteen—and at the same time in Clause 1 we are admitting that a child may be found guilty at ten of an offence with which he has not been charged. That seems to me to be a way of saying that we are raising the 769 age of criminal responsibility to fourteen—which I personally should welcome tremendously because I think the age should march with the age of school leaving; it is below it, but it is much nearer—but in the meantime we are keeping it at ten. I do not think that these two clauses can possibly stand together in this Bill. That relates to the question of age.
§ Now I come to the other questions involved in this new concept. I want the Committee clearly to understand that if paragraph (e) of Clause 1(2), the paragraph I am proposing to delete, remains a child can be found guilty by a court of an offence with which he cannot in law be charged. My noble friend, Lady Serota, in replying to my questions, I thought rather laughed off the distinction, if I may so put it, between an offence with which you are charged and an offence of which you are found guilty by a court. Indeed she used the word "technical" in relation to the matter of the charge. I want to put to the Committee that the matter of whether you are charged is not a technical matter. If you are charged, at least you know what you are charged with, and most of us are very insistent in adult life that if any offence is suggested against us it must either be the subject of a definite charge or not the subject of a definite charge.
§ In this case no child can be charged; therefore, in these crucial ages between 10 and 14 there will be no charge. But the child will be before the court and the judgement of the court may be, under this paragraph, that he is guilty, without a charge. What is the procedure going to be? Will he be cautioned? If one is the subject of a charge, one is entitled to be cautioned first, and therefore one is very careful what one says. Perhaps this is not very important in relation to children; nevertheless it is a right to which they are entitled, I should have thought, quite as much as an adult. Will he be asked to plead? Will it be said to him in court, "We think you stole so and so. Did you or did you not?". There is nothing to say. If we were proceeding on a charge he would, of course, have to be asked to plead.
§ Will there be any appeal? This is a matter of the greatest importance. If 770 a child is found guilty, at present he has a right of appeal to quarter sessions. Is there any appeal against a finding of guilt which leads to a court order? Perhaps it may not be strictly in order, but it may save another speech and therefore I hope the Committee will allow me to ask this: will there be any appeal, either against a finding of guilt or against a court order which follows a finding of guilt? Lastly, when a child has been found guilty under this clause, will it be quotable as a finding of guilt should he subsequently commit offences? Your Lordships will be acquainted with the present procedure where, if an adult commits an offence, when he has been found guilty and convicted the police are asked if anything is known, and the police may say: "There are two previous convictions and two findings of guilt".
§ It is again, I think, one of our minor hypocrisies that a child cannot be convicted; he can only be, found guilty, and these findings of guilt can be quoted along with adult convictions. If, under paragraph (e), a child has been found by a juvenile court to be guilty of an offence, without a charge, will this be quotable when he is an adult, as existing findings of guilt are? This seems to me a very important question. These all seem to me to be very important questions about the procedure, and I must confess that I feel great uneasiness about introducing into our system, for children or adults or anybody else, the idea that somebody can be found guilty of an offence with which he has never been charged; and that is what this paragraph proposes to do.
§ Secondly, I regret very much that this paragraph makes the child's future hang on a specific event, an offence. He can be subject to a court order because of a specific event, namely that he has committed a specific offence. The whole of the rest of this clause deals with general situations, situations of the child in his whole background. The child may be beyond the control of his parents or guardians. That is not a specific single event. He may be exposed to moral danger. That is part of his whole setting. It may be that his proper development is being unavoidably prevented or neglected, or his health unavoidably impaired or neglected, or he is being ill-treated, or he may not be receiving efficient full-time education suitable to 771 his age and ability. These are all things that are characteristic in his whole setting; they are not something that happened on a Thursday afternoon. I think it is a great pity that a clause which is intended to deal with a child in his whole setting and background should include one paragraph which would enable the court to change the child's whole future just as a result of something which happened, perhaps, on a Thursday afternoon.
§ The third reason why I particularly want to see this paragraph go is that it is the only one that introduces the word "guilty". I should have thought that the whole purpose of Clause 1 was not to impose on children and young persons the conception of guilt, but to treat children who come before the court under this clause as being persons who have some sort of difficulty—they are either troublesome to other people or they have troubles of their own; but they are not people who are carrying burdens of guilt, and who are to be found guilty of particular actions.
§ The whole conception of guilt, I should have thought, is foreign to the main purposes of this Bill. Let me say again that I am confident that the purposes of the Bill are admirable, though I think they are obscured by its complexities. The conception of guilt suddenly fastening on to this clause seems to me to be totally out of keeping with the rest of it. The people who are to be dealt with under this clause are children who are in trouble, children who are perhaps giving trouble, but not children who are to be branded by a finding of guilt under this subsection as persons who are guilty of offences.
§ It seems to me that we have certain alternatives before us. We could omit this paragraph bodily, which is what I should like to do, and retain Clause 4, which says that no child may be charged, except with homicide, under the age of 14. If we did that we should have in fact raised the age of criminal responsibility to 14, and I should certainly be the first to cheer. I remember with great satisfaction when a good many years ago, from the opposite side of this House, I succeeded in carrying an Amendment by one vote to the then Children and Young Persons Bill, raising the age of criminal 772 responsibility from 8 to 12. This was subsequently reduced in another place to 10, but something was achieved.
§ I should be delighted if we omitted this paragraph altogether and retained Clause 4, in which case no child could be charged with an offence, or be found guilty of any offence under the age of 14. But if the Government are not willing to do that, then I think the only logical thing—and we shall come to this—is to omit Clause 4 and to retain the present situation. In the present situation, the main facet that I want to retain is this clear distinction between children who are in need of care and the children who are charged with criminal offences and may be found guilty.
§ If we omit this clause and we omit Clause 4, we shall be back in the present situation which is, I am sure, much better than the alternative. We shall be back in the situation in which children of 10 and upwards may be charged with a criminal offence but will then be dealt with under existing criminal procedure in a juvenile court, with the safeguards of cautioning and appeal and entering their own plea. We shall be left with the present situation that children of 10 and upwards may be so dealt with. Then they will be clearly distinguished from the children of under that age who are in need of care and protection or control or, as this Bill has it, who are in need of a care order and who will be dealt with on grounds that they are in moral danger, are neglected or are subject to offences, and so on and so forth. Therefore, I want the Commit tee to say that we cannot have it both ways. We cannot, at one and the same moment, say that children of 14 and under are not chargeable with offences and then, under this subsection find them guilty of offences. I beg to move.
With your Lordships' permission I will briefly intervene. I must apologise to the noble Baroness in that I did not hear the beginning of her remarks. But let me say straight away that I find myself in considerable sympathy with two things she has said. The first is that the noble Baroness while expressing some doubt about this particular paragraph, described the purposes of the Bill as being admirable, and I think most of us will associate ourselves with that remark. The second was her complaint about the extraordinary complexity 773 of the legislation with which we are dealing this afternoon, and with which, I fear, we shall be dealing on Wednesday afternoon as well. I should greatly like to associate myself with what the noble Baroness said about the extremely difficult areas of this Bill. Not being a lawyer, I find it extremely difficult. It seems to me that this whole area of our legislation is in urgent need of a thorough-going codification. That is my own personal view.
As for her remarks it seems to me, speaking "off the cuff" and personally, that the noble Baroness has put her finger on something of a logical dilemma here. If in fact the age of criminal responsibility under this Bill is being raised to 14, or temporarily, because of the undertaking given in another place, to 12, then it seems to me something of an illogicality that one finds paragraph (e) in subsection (2) of the first clause of the Bill. I shall listen with interest to what the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, has to say on this point. But if one is going to preserve the thought behind paragraph (e), it would seem to me that that dilemma could be resolved it, instead of the wording at present in the Bill:he is guilty of an offence, excluding homicide",one had some such phrase (I am not attempting to draft; indeed, I should not have the courage to draft, as it were, in public) as:he had committed an act which, had he been an adult, would have constituted an offence".If the Government wish to preserve, as I surmise they do, the thought behind paragraph (e), the logical dilemma upon which the noble Baroness has put her finger could be resolved in some such way.
On the other main point which the noble Baroness made, about her objection to the offence being specific and identifiable, and the specific act being made the criterion or the test, I am inclined myself to part company with her. I cannot see why a specific offence should not be among the criteria listed in this subsection. It seems to me that a specific act can illuminate, can throw light upon, the general circumstances in which a child finds himself—can in fact put the local authority or those concerned on to more general areas listed under paragraphs (a), (b) and (c); and on that matter 774 I am inclined myself to part company with the noble Baroness. But I should like to hear what the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, has to say in reply to the points made by the noble Baroness in moving the Amendment.
§ 3.10 p.m.
§ LORD STONHAM
I gained some comfort from the last remark of the noble Earl, when he said that he cannot agree that a current offence could not be included as one of the criteria, because it confirms my view that the next following Amendment, which stands in his name, at least on the surface, is directly opposed to the Amendment that we are now considering. The noble Earl said he was in sympathy with my noble friend on two points, the first being that the purpose of the Bill was admirable. That is a great comfort to me because the essential purpose of the Bill, to try to keep children from going to court unnecessarily, is in this clause and, in particular, concerns the Amendments we are now discussing. I agree that the purpose is admirable, and I submit that that is the crux of the matter.
Both the noble Earl and my noble friend said that the Bill was extremely complex and difficult to understand, and my noble friend in particular regretted that the Government had not made plain the application of the 1933 Act. I always regret if Statutes are complex and difficult to understand, but it is customary to have new legislation—and this particular kind of legislation has a long history—by amendment of and reference to previous legislation. This is by no means a new thing. I regret any difficulty that my noble friend had and that anyone else has had. I would assure your Lordships of something of which I know you are already aware. My noble friend said that she hoped we should have in mind not the detailed content of any particular Amendment but its purpose. I think the Committee will know that I always have that in mind when dealing with an Amendment. Although I may find it my duty to point out if an Amendment is not technically viable, I always put that last and deal with the main purpose of the Amendment first. Happily on this occasion my noble friend's drafting is immaculate; she is merely proposing to leave out a line, and therefore we know exactly what she has in mind.
775 I shall try to deal with all the questions that have been put to me in order, but I hope your Lordships will bear with me if I try to deal with this Amendment in relation to the Bill and its possible consequences and effect. My noble friend's Amendment to omit the offence condition has the effect, taken with Clause 4—and I have noted what she said about perhaps doing away with Clause 4 if this Amendment is not accepted—of raising the age of criminal responsibility to the 14th birthday. Therefore there would no longer be any provision for alleging an offence, as such, in care proceedings under Clause 1 of the Bill. Children under 14 would then be in the same position as children under 10 are now; their offences would be relevant in court proceedings only as evidence of one of the other conditions in Clause 1(2)—for example, of being beyond control.
My noble friend Lady Wootton of Abinger thanked my noble friend Lady Serota for a letter she sent to her after Second Reading clearing up two points on which my noble friend was under a misapprehension. Since these may not be quite clear to your Lordships, perhaps I may refer to them again. The first misapprehension was that the offence subsection which my noble friend now proposes to remove would lower the age of criminal responsibility to nought, and moreover offences by children would be established in accordance with the civil burden of proof—that is, the balance of probabilities—and would no longer have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. As my noble friend Lady Wootton has now made clear, the Bill does neither of these things, because the age of criminal responsibility is fixed by Section 50 of the 1933 Act, as amended by the 1963 Act, which says that a child under 10 is incapable in law of committing an offence. Indeed, this Amendment would have the effect of making it that the child under 14 was incapable in law of committing an offence.
With regard to safeguards, that is to say that cases should be judged as they are now in criminal cases and not under the "probabilities" as they would in civil cases, the main object of Clause 3, which has not been mentioned so far in the debate, is to ensure that all the safeguards of the criminal law are preserved in offence condition cases. Clause 3(3) 776 makes it clear that the burden of proving the offence condition will still be the criminal burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt. May I draw your Lordships' attention to Clause 3(3) at the top of page 6? It says:If in any care proceedings the relevant infant is alleged to have committed an offence in consequence of which the offence condition is satisfied with respect to him, the court shall not find the offence condition satisfied in consequence of the offence unless, disregarding section 4 of this Act, it would have found him guilty of the offence if the proceedings had been in pursuance of an information duly charging him with the offence and the court had had jurisdiction to try the information; and without prejudice to the preceding provisions of this subsection the same proof shall be required to substantiate or refute an allegation that the offence condition is satisfied in consequence of an offence as is required to warrant a finding of guilty, or as the case may be, of not guilty of the offence".In my submission that is not, as my noble friend suggested, saying that the child is found guilty. After all, as Clause 4 says, if you cannot indulge in a criminal prosecution against a child of under 14, then he is not convicted; he is not guilty in the ordinary sense.
I want your Lordships to consider the practical effect of my noble friend's Amendment to remove the offence condition. In terms of keeping children out of court where possible, which is what I think we are all mainly concerned to do, the Amendment would make little or no difference. Clause 1(1), read with subsection (2), makes it quite clear that the police and local authorities may bring court proceedings against an offender under the age of 14 only if there is reasonable ground to believe that the child is unlikely to receive the care or control which he needs. Clause 1(2) makes it clear that the court may not make an order unless satisfied that without that order the child is unlikely to receive the care or control he needs. These provisions effectively distinguish between cases which can and should be dealt with outside the courts and those where court proceedings are, regrettably, necessary. Deletion of the offence condition would not do the job any better. The same cases would, or at least should, still go to court, and if children committed offences the police and local authorities would normally manage to bring them under one of the other headings—that is assuming that the offence condition 777 was removed. The convention would grow up that repeated offences, or a very serious offence, by a child under 14 constituted sufficient evidence of being beyond control. A few cases might be taken to court under Clause 1(2)(e) which would not be taken under Clause 1(2)(c), but I think the difference would be slight.
In the earlier part of my noble friend's speech—and I listened carefully—she twice said that "if he is guilty of an offence, he may be the subject of a care order". But that is only if the court is satisfied that he would not get the care which he needs without such an order. That is of immense importance, and the importance will be emphasised when we come to the next Amendment. We must always bear in mind that an offence is only one of five possible preconditions, and that if a child is brought to court because of the offence he is not necessarily going to be the subject of a care order, unless the court is satisfied that he will not get the care which he needs without such an order.
My noble friend made an extremely informed speech, and made some very interesting suggestions (as did the noble Earl, but with different wording), but I want to say why the Government wish to retain paragraph (e) of Clause 1(2). First, as I have tried to make clear, the Amendment is not necessary, because it will not do more effectively the job of keeping children out of courts. It can be claimed—in fact, if I thought it were practicable I should have some sympathy with such a suggestion—that a straightforward raising of the age of criminal responsibility would be a simpler and more clear-cut method of achieving the desired result. But there are two main reasons why we have not done that in the Bill as it stands.
The first reason has to do with the way in which the notion of responsibility can best be introduced into the upbringing and education of children. In the Government's view, it should be done gradually; it should not be started too late in a child's life, and this gradual process should be reflected in the law. That is why Clauses 1 and 4, as a matter of deliberate policy, split the notion of criminal responsibility into two. Between the ages of ten and fourteen, one element of criminal responsibility—namely, legal capacity to commit an offence—is re- 778 tained. The other element—namely, liability to criminal proceedings—is abolished. My noble friend thought that that was wrong, and she is fully entitled to her opinion. But, in our view, this ten to fourteen treatment is a carefully conceived halfway stage between being legally incapable under the age of ten of committing an offence, and being liable to criminal proceedings from the age of fourteen upwards.
In the Government's view, ten is not too young an age for a child to begin to learn the rules of adult behaviour laid down in the criminal law, and to learn that they have some application to him. If we were to raise the age from ten to fourteen, we should, in effect, be saying that children under fourteen were not expected to know about these adult rules of behaviour. That, in our view, would be an unconstructive step. Let us by all means say that we shall keep children out of court where we can, and that, where we cannot, at least we will not prosecute them as criminals. But let us not say that we regard children under fourteen as less responsible, or less capable of beginning to learn to behave in the way the law requires for adults. And, if offences are still alleged against children, let us be honest about it and allow the law to say that an offence, as such, may still form part of the grounds for court proceedings. That is what the Bill says.
The second reason for preserving the "offence condition" has to do with safeguards—that is, the protection of the child. If this Amendment were accepted, and paragraph (e) of Clause 1(2) were deleted, the whole of Clause 3 would fall with it. In practice, despite the absence of Clause 3, and despite the absence of the offence condition, offences would still be alleged against children in care proceedings. They would normally be alleged to establish the "beyond control" condition. But they could then be proved by the criminal burden of proof—that is, the balance of probabilities—which, judging by what my noble friend has just said, and what she said on Second Reading, she certainly does not want; and nor do I. Clause 3 preserves not only the criminal burden of proof but also all the other safeguards of the criminal law in these offence condition cases, such as the Judges' Rules, not 779 being put in peril twice for the same offence, and the six months' time limit on commencing proceedings in summary offences. The omission of paragraph (e) would sweep away the need for proof beyond reasonable doubt, together with all these other safeguards. Surely we do not want them swept away, because child offenders would then be found to be beyond control only on the balance of probabilities, at which quite a part of my noble friend's speech was directed.
In conclusion, I would say that, despite all our efforts under Clause 1, some children who commit offences will still have to be taken to court. As Clause 1 stands, it will perform effectively the two main jobs for which it is intended—keeping children out of court, if possible; and ceasing to treat as criminals those who have to be taken to court. At the same time, the clause maintains the concept of the gradual development of responsibility. It calls an offence an offence; it calls a spade a spade, but, together with Clause 3, it nevertheless maintains all the safeguards of the existing law. In the Government's view, my noble friend's Amendment to delete the offence condition would not make Clause 1 do its intended job any better, but would erode the idea of children learning responsibility gradually and would do away with the safeguards. Therefore, on educational grounds and on grounds of protecting the liberty of the subject, the Government feel that paragraph (e) must be retained. In view of these arguments, I hope that my noble friend will feel able to withdraw her Amendment.
§ 3.26 p.m.
§ LORD BYERS
Before the noble Lord finishes his speech, may I ask him about a short point which was raised by the noble Baroness and which weighs very heavily with my noble friends and myself? I refer to the question of appeal. As I understand it, if an offence is proved and a care order is made, there is a right of appeal, as there is if compensation has to be paid. But if a care order is made when there is no offence—when the order is merely for care—is there a right of appeal; and, if not, why not?
§ LORD STONHAM
The noble Lord said, "if an offence is proved". If an offence is alleged in care proceedings the 780 procedure will be that the alleged offence will be put to the child. He will be asked whether he admits it, and this will be dealt with under the rules of the court. Of course there is a right of appeal. If the noble Lord will look at subsection (8) of Clause 3, he will see it there.
§ LORD BYERS
It is that subsection which worries me. If an offence is committed or proved there appears to be an appeal, and if compensation is payable there also appears to be an appeal. But if there is merely a care order, there does not appear to be any provision for an appeal, and it is that which worries us.
§ LORD STONHAM
But the first line of subsection (8) says, "Where in any care proceedings". We are talking about care proceedings, and they may in some cases result in a care order.
§ LORD KILBRACKEN
The subsection says:Where in any care proceedings the court finds the offence condition satisfied …
§ BARONESS WOOTTON of ABINGER
I do not think my noble friend has made this matter entirely clear. There appear to be two quite distinct issues. Where a care order is made on any of the grounds set out in Clause 1 there is an appeal against the care order. Is that right?
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
This is not strictly relevant to my Amendment. What is strictly relevant to my Amendment is this. If, under paragraph (e), a child or young person is found guilty of an offence, is there an appeal against the finding of guilt?
§ LORD STONHAM
I tried to explain this question about guilt. This is not a case of a criminal prosecution. My noble friend referred to a conviction. As she knows far better than even I, Clause 1 does not enable, as it was suggested that it did, the entire future of a child to be changed because of a single happening on a Thursday afternoon.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
I hope my noble friend will forgive me for interrupting, but I think my question 781 is a great deal simpler. The Bill is so complex that it is difficult not to get it involved, but I think my question is a great deal simpler. Under paragraph (e), which I am moving to delete, one, of the conditions, known as an "offence condition", under which a child can be made the subject of a care order is that he is guilty of an offence. Has he an appeal against the finding that he is guilty of an offence, as distinct from an appeal against the order?
§ LORD STONHAM
Yes. Subsection (9) of Clause 2 says:The relevant infant may appeal to quarter sessions against any order made in respect of him under the preceding section, except such an order as is mentioned in subsection (3)(a) of that section".And subsection (3)(a) refers to:an order requiring his parent or guardian to enter into a recognisance",and so on. That is the only exception. So he has an appeal. Would my noble friend just read subsection (9) of Clause 2? There is an appeal against any kind of order that is made except an order requiring his parent or guardian to enter into a recognisance.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
I am very sorry to pursue this matter, but I think it is important. This subsection, which indeed I had read, deals with an order made by the court, which is the care order made subsequent to the finding of guilt. Under the present procedure, where a young person is brought before a juvenile court and charged under criminal procedure, if he is found guilty he has the same right as an adult: he can appeal against the finding of guilt or he can appeal against the subsequent sentence. They are two different things. It is perfectly clear that under this Bill he can appeal against the order, which is the equivalent of the sentence. What is not clear to me is whether, now that this is no longer a matter of criminal procedure, he can appeal against the finding of guilt.
§ LORD STONHAM
May I just finish this one point? I would refer the Committee to Clause 1, and to subsection (9) of Clause 2, which says:The relevant infant may appeal to quarter sessions against any order made in respect of him under the preceding section …That is one appeal. The other appeal, against the finding of guilt, appears in subsection (8) of Clause 3, which says:Where … the court finds the offence condition satisfied …
§ LORD STONHAM
Yes. These are the two appeals. One is the general grounds of appeal to quarter sessions against an order under Clause 1, and the other is the appeal against the finding of guilt.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
This may be an appropriate moment for me to repeat a Statement which is just being made in another place. In order that that should be done, may I move that the House be now resumed?
§ Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.