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New UK law enforcement bill to formalize practice of witness immunity

[JURIST] A bill to establish a new FBI-style security agency in the UK being considered Wednesday will also formalize and encourage the practice of offering witnesses immunity from prosecution. Ministers hope that by formalizing the practice, more people will be willing to testify for the government. A Home Office report earlier this year found that plea deals with the government, known as Queen's evidence, were only used in less than 1 percent of drug trafficking cases. The practice was used in about 26 percent of cases in the US. The bill was announced as part of the Queen's speech, opening the 2004-2005 session of Parliament. Read the Serious Organized Crime and Police Bill [PDF]. The security agency created by the legislation will be the Serious Organized Crime Agency. The Guardian has more.

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