Section 79 – Control orders: meaning of involvement in terrorism-related activity
216.Section 1(9) of the PTA defines involvement in terrorism-related activity as any one or more of the following:
the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism;
conduct which facilitates the commission, preparation or instigation of such acts, or which is intended to do so;
conduct which gives encouragement to the commission, preparation or instigation of such acts, or which is intended to do so;
conduct which gives support or assistance to individuals who are known or believed to be involved in terrorism-related activity.
217.Subsection (1) of section 79 amends section 1(9)(d) so that it reads “conduct which gives support or assistance to individuals who are known or believed by the individual concerned to be involved in conduct falling within paragraphs (a) to (c).”
218.This amendment removes an unintended ambiguity in the original definition, which could be read as capturing individuals who unknowingly provided support or assistance to individuals known or believed by the Secretary of State to be involved in terrorism-related activity. It also removes an unnecessary potential circularity in the definition. Currently, an individual (A) could have a control order imposed on him because he was supporting another individual (B) known or believed to be supporting a third person (C) involved in terrorism-related activity within paragraphs (a) to (c). There could in theory be any number of links in this chain: A knows or believes B who knows or believes C who knows or believes D, and so on before it leads to someone (Z) who is actually engaged in conduct referred to within paragraphs (a) to (c). At present all persons in this chain could have a control order imposed against them. The definition was not and is not intended to be this wide. This amendment ensures that only support for someone directly involved in terrorism-related activity (conduct falling within section 1(9)(a) to (c)) is captured so that in the example referred to above only the person directly giving support and assistance to Z would be caught by the definition.
219.Subsection (2) provides that the revised definition set out in subsection (1) is deemed to have had effect since the 2005 Act came into force. This is the way in which the provision has always been interpreted and reflects the fact that the “tightened” definition is the one that has always been applied. This subsection is also intended to ensure that the basis upon which previous or current control orders have been made or upheld by the courts is not called into question as a result of a change in the definition of terrorism-related activity.