§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there will be restrictions on the types of previous convictions that could be mentioned during a trial under the new criminal justice reforms. 
§ Hilary Benn
[holding answer 2 December 2002]: The Criminal Justice Bill, introduced on 21 November 2002, will reform the law on admitting evidence of a person's bad character, and will enable evidence such as previous convictions to be used where they are relevant to the case. This will, however, be subject to a power for judges and magistrates to exclude this sort of evidence if admitting it would have an adverse effect on the fairness of a trial.