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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 September 2006, 08:25 GMT 09:25 UK
Legal 'loopholes' plan considered
John Reid
Mr Reid believes many people find the present system "unacceptable"
Judges could be stopped from freeing criminals on legal technicalities under government plans.

Home Secretary John Reid, who says he wants to "rebalance criminal justice in favour of victims", will launch a consultation on how to achieve his aim.

The consultation paper states that it "should not be possible to quash" a conviction that is considered "safe".

The move follows a police crackdown on reckless or drunk drivers escaping conviction through legal "loopholes".

Writing in the foreword to the paper, Mr Reid said new laws would be required.

"Whilst the government is open to suggestions about how we achieve the aims, we are not consulting on the aims themselves or on whether the law should be changed," he said.

"It is our firm view that the present system risks outcomes which are unacceptable to the law-abiding majority."

Common examples of so-called loopholes include the police failing to properly read suspects their rights, or searching homes with out-of-date warrants.

The Home Office consultation paper states: "The government acknowledges that the Court of Appeal are not in the same position as the jury and may not always be able to form a view on whether the appellant committed the offence.

"However, where they have formed such a view the government believes they should not be empowered to allow the appeal."

Profile: John Reid
14 Sep 06 |  UK Politics

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