Conservative and Liberal Democrat peers are expected to ally with Labour rebels to oppose provisions in the Criminal Justice Bill, which go considerably wider to allow judges to discharge juries and hear trials alone when attempted jury nobbling is suspected.
The government’s proposals include allowing the accused to opt for trial by judge alone as well, in a move, civil rights lobbyists fear, will put many under pressure to agree to save costs.
The proposals for judges with assessors to hear complicated fraud cases have more support, but all the proposals have become tarred with the same anti-libertarian brush.
Government sources suggested they will accept defeat today to allow the Lords to complete detailed committee debates on the Bill before the summer holidays and then seek to restore judge-alone trials at a later stage, perhaps when the Bill returns to the Commons in the autumn.
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