§ Lord Avebury
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What additional response they propose to make to the Sixth Report of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee (HC 421) following their review of their procedure to avoid unexplained delays in replying to petitions, and the examination of the case for legislation to allow the Home Secretary to refer doubtful summary convictions back to the courts (para 20, Cmnd. 8856); and 987WA whether they are now satisfied that alleged miscarriages of justice are thoroughly investigated where new evidence comes to light.
The Minister of State, Home Office (The Earl of Caithness)
The procedure for the handling of petitions submitted in respect of alleged miscarriages of justice was reviewed in 1983. Arrangements were introduced with a view to ensuring that prisoners are kept fully informed of any delay which is likely to occur in sending a substantive reply to their petitions.
Further consideration has been given to the possibility of a provision to allow doubtful summary convictions to be referred back to the courts, but we have not been able to give high priority to preparing legislation on this subject.
My right honourable friend the Home Secretary is satisfied that all alleged miscarriages of justice which are referred to him are thoroughly examined.