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Defendants required to provide nationality

From Monday 13 November 2017 the Criminal Procedure (Amendment No. 4) Rules 2017 come into force.

The amendment to rule 3.13 inserts a new paragraph thus:

  • (5) The court –
    • (a) At the first hearing in the Crown Court must require a defendant who is present-
      • (i) to provide, in writing or orally, his or her name, date of birth and nationality, or
      • (ii) to confirm that information by those means where the information was given to the magistrates’ court which sent the defendant for trial; and
    • (b) at any subsequent hearing may require such a defendant to provide or confirm that information by those means.

The same statutory instrument creates similar provisions for proceedings at the magistrates’ court (rule 3.27(5)(a) and (b)).

These rules provide the mechanism of operation for the already-enacted s162 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017. Section 162 of the PCA amends the Courts Act 2003 by inserting a new section, s86A, entitled ‘Requirement to give information in criminal proceedings’. Under s86A(1) a defendant must provide their name, date of birth and nationality ‘if required to do so at any stage of proceedings by the court’.

Failure to provide these details to the court without a reasonable excuse is a summary offence under s86A(3) of the Courts Act 2003. The penalty for a person guilty of such an offence is imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks (or 6 months if the offence was committed before the commencement of s281(5) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003), a fine or both (s85A(5)).

It should be noted that any information provided by the defendant in response to the requirement set out in s85A(1) is not admissible in criminal proceedings against that person other than in proceedings for an offence under s86A(3).

The note to rule 3.13(5), also inserted by virtue of the statutory instrument, adds that the offence of failure to comply with a request can occur ‘by providing false or incomplete information or by providing no information’.