The parliamentary joint committee on human rights has backtracked
over the concerns it raised last month that a clause in the
Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill could be incompatible
with human rights legislation.
The bill plans to close a legal loophole that allows parents
co-accused of their child’s murder to escape punishment by
remaining silent or blaming each other. If passed, juries could
make “inferences” about a person’s guilt from their refusal to
answer a question.
In its third report of 2003-4, the committee warned there was a
risk that this measure was incompatible with the right to a fair
hearing under the European Convention on Human Rights.
But, after discussions with the home secretary, the committee has
conceded there is no significant risk of a breach.