Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden): In view of the Home Secretary‘s proposal that the right to jury trial be ended in the case of serious fraud cases?in the apparent belief that juries are too bewildered by the complexity of fraud trials to convict, and that fraudsters exploit that?is he aware that over the past four years the Serious Fraud Office has had a 92 per cent. conviction rate in cases that it has brought? Does he expect the changes that he announced to result in an even higher conviction rate, a lower conviction rate or no change, and, if the latter, why bother?
    Mr. Blunkett: I am grateful for the notice of the right hon. Gentleman‘s question through this morning‘s edition of The Daily Telegraph. I adhere to three of his four principles, but I fall short on double jeopardy?we simply disagree on that. Yes, I do expect more fraud cases to be brought and to be successful, because the current enormous difficulties arising from persuading people to take up jury service for prolonged, complex fraud cases lasting up to a year and dealing with them under the current arrangements will be overcome. A very large body of information now backs up our proposals.
    17 Jul 2002 : Column 296