Chaotic Coroners and Justice Bill reels into view

Chaotic Coroners and Justice Bill reels into view

While the question of whether cartoon images of children should fall foul of the law has aroused debate, the recently published Coroners and Justice Bill contains more than a few changes that may prove just as controversial.

A reaffirmation of the penalties for anyone “aiding or abetting suicide” via the internet is one such measure. Then, too, there is the attempt to remove a recently passed “opt out” to the Law on incitement to hatred on grounds of sexual orientation.

The same bill also includes provisions previously covered by The Register enabling easier transfer of personal data between government departments, plus provisions about the use of video recording in respect of sex offences. Removal of the defence of provocation in murder trials is in there, nestling alongside regulations in respect of the finding of “treasure”… And on and on.

Winding its way through 160 clauses, 21 schedules – not to forget some 993 paragraphs of explanatory notes – it is a “pic’n’mix” approach to law-making, lurching from measures that impinge on our most fundamental rights (such as the clauses on data-sharing) and back again to the fussy and trivial such as retention of knives seized by court officials, or reduced sentences for disqualified drivers who agree to undertake training.

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