The Freedom Bill

Freedom Bill

A

BILL

TO

Amend the law relating to detention of terrorist suspects, control orders and extradition arrangements; to make provision about identity cards, investigatory and surveillance powers, retention and use of samples; to make provision relating to the restoration of rights; to amend the criminal law and make provision regarding criminal trials; to amend data protection and freedom of information legislation; and for connected purposes.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows: —

PART 1

TERRORISM ETC

CHAPTER 1

Detention of terrorist suspects

[Explanatory note]

1 Reduction of period of detention of terrorist suspects

(1) Sections 23 to 25 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (c.11) (extension of period of detention of terrorist suspects) ceases to have effect.

CHAPTER 2

Control orders

[Explanatory note]

2 Repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005

(1) The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (c.2) (orders against individuals involved in terrorism-related activity) is repealed.

(2) Sections 21 to 32 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (c. 24) (suspected international terrorists) are repealed.

CHAPTER 3

Designation of part 2 territories

[Explanatory note]

3 Removal of the United States of America from part 2 territories

(1) In the list of territories in paragraph 3(2) of the Extradition Act 2003 (Designation of Part 2 Territories) Order 2003(S.I. 2003/3334) “the United States of America” is omitted.

PART 2

SURVEILLANCE POWERS

CHAPTER 1

Identity cards

[Explanatory note]

4 Repeal of the Identity cards 2006

(1) The Identity Cards Act 2006 (c.15) (which establishes the National Identity Register) is repealed.

CHAPTER 2

Surveillance powers and serious crime

[Explanatory note]

5 Amendment of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

(1) The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (c.23) is amended as follows.

(2) In section 28 (authorisation of directed surveillance) for subsection (1) substitute –

“(1) The persons designated under this section may apply to a magistrate for a warrant for authorisation to carry out directed surveillance.”

(3) In subsection (2) of section 28 for “A person shall not grant an authorisation” substitute “A magistrate shall not grant a warrant”

(4) In subsection (3)(b) of section 28 for “detecting crime or of preventing disorder” substitute “detecting serious crime”

(5) In section 29 (authorisation of covert human intelligence sources) for subsection (1) substitute –

“(1) The persons designated under this section may apply to a magistrate for a warrant for authorisation to carry out directed surveillance.”

(6) In subsection (2) of section 29 for “A person shall not grant an authorisation” substitute “A magistrate shalll not grant a warrant”.

(7) In subsection (3)(b) of section 29 for “detecting crime or of preventing disorder” substitute “detecting serious crime.”.”

CHAPTER 3

Retention of fingerprints and samples

[Explanatory note]

6 Restrictions on the retention of fingerprints and samples

(1) That section 82 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 be repealed

(2) That section 9 and section 10 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 be repealed

(3) After section 64A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (c. 60) insert—

Destruction of fingerprints and samples etc

(1) After a person is either not charged or acquitted of the offence for which a sample has been taken that sample shall be destroyed within one month of the fingerprints or samples being taken or the person being acquitted.

(2) This section applies to the following material—

(a) photographs falling within a description specified in the regulations,

(b) fingerprints taken from a person in connection with the investigation of an offence,

(c) impressions of footwear so taken from a person,

(d) DNA and other samples so taken from a person,

(e) information derived from DNA samples so taken from a person.

(3) For the purposes of this section—

(a) “photograph” includes a moving image, and

(b) the reference to a DNA sample is a reference to any material that has come from a human body and consists of or includes human cells.

CHAPTER 4

Establishment of a Royal Commission

[Explanatory note]

7 Royal Commission to recommend on the use and regulation of CCTV

(1) A Royal Commission is to be established to make urgent recommendations on the use and regulation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and the impact of CCTV on privacy.

PART 3

RESTORATION OF RIGHTS

CHAPTER 1

Right to protest in the vicinity of Parliament Square

[Explanatory note]

8 Repeal of offences restricting the right to protest in the vicinity of Parliament

(1) Omit sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (c. 15) (which regulate demonstrations in the vicinity of Parliament).

(2) In the Table in section 175(3) of That Act (transitional provision relating to offences) omit the entries relating to section 136.

(3) In paragraph 1(1) of Schedule 2 to the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 (c. 40) (which is about consents for the operation of loudspeaker) omit “or of section 137(1) of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005″.

(4) Omit paragraph 64 of Schedule 6 to the Serious Crime Act 2007 (c. 27).

CHAPTER 2

Constitution of a public assembly

[Explanatory note]

9 Extension to the number of people constituting a public assembly

(1) Section 57 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 (c.38) (reduction in the definition of public assembly) ceases to have effect.

CHAPTER 3

Designated sites

[Explanatory note]

10 Repeal of offences of trespassing on designated site

(1) Omit sections 128 to 131 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (c. 15) (which creates an offence of trespass on designated site).

CHAPTER 4

Restoration of the right to silence

[Explanatory note]

11 Repeal of provisions which restrict the right to silence

(1) Omit sections 34 to 39 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (c. 33) (which allows inferences from the silence of the accused).

PART 4

CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROVISIONS

CHAPTER 1

Trials on indictment without a jury

[Explanatory note]

12 Repeal of provisions to allow for fraud cases to be conducted without a jury

(1) Omit section 43 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c.44) (fraud trials to be conducted without a jury).

CHAPTER 2

Public interest defence for whistleblowers

[Explanatory note]

13 Restoration of the public interest defence for whistleblowers

(1) After section 7 (2)(b) of the Official Secrets Act 1989 (c.6) insert –

(c) and the government contractor can demonstrate that the disclosure caused more good than harm to the public interest before a court.

(2) After section 7 (3) (b) of the Official Secrets Act 1989 (c.6) insert –

(c) and the person can demonstrate that the disclosure caused more good than harm to the public interest before a court.

CHAPTER 3

Defendant’s bad character

[Explanatory note]

14 Repeal of provisions which allow evidence of a defendant’s bad character

(1) Omit sections 98 to 113 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c.44) (evidence of bad character).

CHAPTER 4

Cases that may be retried

[Explanatory note]

15 Reduction in the number of cases that may be retried

(1) Omit schedule 5 paragraph 2 to 24 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c.44) (list of offences for England and Wales).

(2) Omit schedule 5 paragraph 26 to 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c.44) (list of offences for England and Wales).

(3) Omit schedule 5 paragraph 31 to 45 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c.44) (list of offences for Northern Ireland).

(4) Omit schedule 5 paragraph 47 to 50 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c.44) (list of offences for Northern Ireland).

CHAPTER 5

Taking control of goods

[Explanatory note]

16 Repeal of provisions which allow bailiffs to use force

(1) Omit schedule 12 paragraph 17 to 19 of the Tribunal, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (c.15) (powers for enforcement agency to use reasonable force).

PART 5

DATA PROTECTION AND FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

CHAPTER 1

Strengthening freedom of information

[Explanatory note]

17 Substantial prejudice in freedom of information

1 (1) In section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (c. 33), in paragraph 2a after “prejudice” insert “substantially”.

(2) In section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (c. 33), in paragraph 2b after “inhibit” insert “substantially”.

(3) In section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (c. 33), in paragraph 2c after “would otherwise prejudice” insert “substantially” and after “be likely otherwise to prejudice” insert “substantially”.

2 After section 41 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29) insert—

“41A Assessment notices

(1) The Commissioner may serve a data controller with a notice (in this Act referred to as an “assessment notice”) for the purpose of enabling the Commissioner to determine whether the data controller has complied or is complying with the data protection principles.

(2) An assessment notice is a notice which requires the data controller to do all or any of the following—

(a) permit the Commissioner to enter any specified premises;

(b) direct the Commissioner to any documents on the premises that are of a specified description;

(c) assist the Commissioner to view any information of a specified description that is capable of being viewed using equipment on the premises;

(d) comply with any request from the Commissioner for—

(i) a copy of any of the documents to which the Commissioner is directed;

(ii) a copy (in such form as may be requested) of any of the information which the Commissioner is assisted to view;

(e) direct the Commissioner to any equipment or other material on the premises which is of a specified description;

(f) permit the Commissioner to inspect or examine any of the documents, information, equipment or material to which the Commissioner is directed or which the Commissioner is assisted to view;

(g) permit the Commissioner to observe the processing of any personal data that takes place on the premises;

(h) make available for interview by the Commissioner a specified number of persons of a specified description who process personal data on behalf of the data controller (or such number as are willing to be interviewed).

(3) In subsection (3) references to the Commissioner include references to the Commissioner’s officers and staff.

CHAPTER 2

Ministerial veto on freedom of information

[Explanatory note]

18 Repeal of ministerial ability to veto Information Tribunal decisions

(1) Omit section 53 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (c.36) (exception from duty to comply with decision notice or enforcement notice).

(2) In section 59 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (c.36) (appeals from decision of Tribunal), omit “on a point of law”.

CHAPTER 3

Children’s information databases

[Explanatory note]

19 Repeal of provisions to allow for the establishment of children’s databases

(1) Section 12 of the Children Act 2004 (c.31) (information databases) ceases to have effect.

(2) SI 2007 No. 2182, The Children Act 2004 Information Database (England) Regulations 2007 ceases to have effect.

CHAPTER 4

Parental consent

[Explanatory note]

20 Regulations to govern parental consent for taking children’s biometric samples

(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations to provide for the retention, use and destruction of material to which this section applies.

(2) The regulations must make provision as to the gathering of parental consent before material is taken from a person under the age of 16.

(3) This section applies to the following material—

(a) fingerprints taken from a person under the age of 16,

(b) DNA and other samples taken from a person under the age of 16,

(c) information derived from DNA samples so taken from a person under the age of 16,

(d) other biometric information as the Secretary of State thinks fit.

(4) The Secretary of State may make exceptions in the regulations in regard to —

(a) criminal justice,

(b) immigration.

PART 6

GENERAL

21 Commencement

(1) This Act comes into force at the end of the period of two months beginning with the day on which it is passed.

22 Short title

(1) This Act may be cited as the Freedom Act 2009.

View the original bill at freedom.libdems.org

2 Responses to “The Freedom Bill”

  1. The Tory plans to roll back Labours high tech police state « Dark Politics Says:

    […] wrote some articles about the upcoming UK general election and the Liberal Democrats proposed Freedom Bill which aims to roll back some of the most intrusive and liberty destroying measures introduced by […]

  2. Chris Huhne and the Lib Dem’s Freedom Bill « Dark Politics Says:

    […] are prepared to do something about our current situation. I would urge every UK citizen to consider this proposed freedom bill when they are picking a party to put a cross next to in a month or so’s […]

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