Criminal Cases Review (Insanity) Bill

My Lords, I too support the Bill introduced by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner. I extend my gratitude to him and to the Home Office for their assistance.

There appears to be a gap in the law in this regard. As I understand it, the Bill merely enables the Criminal Cases Review Commission to refer to the Court of Appeal a verdict of guilty but insane and gives the Court of Appeal powers to hear and dispose of an appeal on such a reference.

Although the verdict of guilty but insane was abolished in the 1960s, it had the same practical effect as its replacement; namely, not guilty by reason of insanity. As I understand it, there may still be a small number of people who were the subject of such a verdict and who would like to have it reconsidered by the Court of Appeal. Indeed, we have heard of the particular case of Iain Hay Gordon from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner. Because of the present situation, Mr. Gordon cannot even have his case investigated. That cannot be justice.

It seems an injustice that someone who has been found guilty but insane should have no possibility of an appeal. It is a long-standing injustice which should be rectified as soon as possible.