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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Contents of the Terrorism Bill
The Bill contains the following provisions:

  • A new offence relating to the encouragement of acts of terrorism, and to the dissemination of terrorist publications.

  • A new offence relating to the preparation of terrorist acts

  • A new offence outlawing the giving or receiving of terrorist training;

  • New offences relating to nuclear terrorism.

  • An increase in the penalties for possession for terrorist purposes.

  • New procedures to be followed in the preparation of terrorist cases for trial.

  • An amendment to the grounds on which the Secretary of State is empowered to proscribe organisations.

  • A process through which a proscribed organisation may be identified by another name.

  • Amendments to police and investigatory powers, including the extension of the maximum period that a warrant of further detention can last from 14 days to three months.

    Key Provisions:

    Encouragement

    Clause 1 creates an offence of encouragement of acts of terrorism or Convention offences. The offence is committed if "the person publishing a statement or causing a statement to be published either knows or believes, or has reasonable grounds for believing at the time of publication or causing to publish, that members of the public seeing or hearing the statement are likely to understand it to be an encouragement or other inducement to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism". The encouragement can be either direct or indirect.

    "Indirect encouragement of terrorism" includes statements that glorify the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism, but only if a member of the public could reasonably be expected to infer that what is being glorified in the statement is being glorified as conduct that should be emulated. "To glorify" is defined in clause 20(2) as "to praise or celebrate." The encouragement given need not relate to a specific act of terrorism and an offence is committed whether or not such encouragement leads to an act of terrorism or Convention offence taking place, being prepared or being instigated. Preparation of terrorist acts

    Preparation

    Clause 5 creates an offence of the preparation of terrorist acts. This offence adds to existing common law offences of conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts, and attempting to carry out such acts. At the moment the law does not cover preparatory acts: the offence of attempt provides that the acts done must be more than merely preparatory and the offence of conspiracy provides that an agreement to commit an offence must have occurred.

    Training

    Clause 6 creates a new offence of giving or receiving training in terrorist skills. An offence is committed a) if the person giving training knows or suspects that the person receiving training intends to use the skills he acquires for, or in connection with, the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism, or b) a person receives instruction and, at the time of the training, he intends to use the skills acquired for, or in connection with, the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism.

    Attending

    Clause 8 creates a new offence of attending a place used for terrorist training; the person concerned need not have received training himself in order for the offence to have been committed.

    Banned groups

    Section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2000 gives the Secretary of State power to add an organisation to the list of proscribed organisations in Schedule 2 of that Act if he believes that the organisation is concerned in terrorism. The term "concerned in terrorism" includes that the organisation "promotes or encourages terrorism". Clause 21 of the new Bill provides that a group may be considered to "promote or encourage terrorism" if its activities include the unlawful glorification of terrorism or its activities are carried out in a manner that ensures that it is associated with statements containing unlawful glorification of terrorism. The new Bill also allows the Secretary of State to deal with banned organisations that attempt to escape proscription by changing their name.

    Extending detention

    Schedule 8 to the Terrorism Act 2000 allowed for the extension of detention prior to charging. The original maximum period of detention of seven days was extended to a maximum of fourteen days by section 306 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Clause 23 of the new Bill would extend the maximum period that a warrant of further detention can last from 14 days to three months. The clause also widens the group of people who may apply for these so-called "warrants of further detention."




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