Coroners and Justice Bill 2009
An act delivering ‘more effective, transparent and responsive justice and coroner services’
“To deliver more effective, transparent and responsive justice and coroner services for victims, witnesses, bereaved families and the wider public.”
- Reforms and clarifies the law on homicide, in particular to partial defences, such as diminished responsibility.
- Updates the language of the offence of assisting suicide.
- Establishes a new Sentencing Council for England and Wales, with a strengthened remit to promote consistency in sentencing practice.
- Creates a new national coroner service, led by a new chief coroner.
- Introduces “certified investigations” into the inquest system. Under this scheme the secretary of state can certify that an inquest (including one where a person has died in state custody or at the hands of the state) must be held without a jury.
- Enables the courts to pass an indeterminate sentence for public protection for certain terrorist offences.
- Prevents criminals from profiting from publications about their crimes.
- Allows a minister, by order, to share any person’s personal data if doing so would achieve one of the government’s “policy purposes”.
- Amends the Data Protection Act to strengthen the information commissioner’s inspection powers .
- Re-enacts the provisions of the emergency Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act 2008 so that the courts may continue to grant anonymity to vulnerable or intimidated witnesses where this is consistent with a defendant’s right to a fair trial.
- Allows the courts to grant investigation anonymity orders in certain gun and knife crime cases. The orders prohibit the disclosure of information that specifies a person as having assisted a criminal investigation.
- Extends the use of special measures in criminal proceedings, such as live video links and screens around the witness box, so vulnerable and intimidated witnesses give their best evidence.
- Broadens the offence of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation by removing “discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or urging persons to refrain from or modify such conduct” as protected speech.
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