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Criminal Law—Publicprosecutor

Volume 229: debated on Thursday 25 May 1876

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Depart- ment, Whether, having regard to the evidence given before the Committee on Foreign Loans, and the numerous miscarriages of justice in criminal cases, it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to make proposals for the appointment of a Public Prosecutor?

This is a Question which has for a long time engaged the serious attention of Her Majesty's Government, and I am quite prepared on their behalf to submit a scheme for the consideration of this House whenever a proper and convenient opportunity is afforded for its discussion. But I must warn the House that whenever any scheme to be effective for the purpose is brought forward, they must not expect it to be one which will not cost money. Beyond the expenditure incurred on behalf of salaries, the cost of prosecutions will, I have not the slightest doubt, be very enormously increased.

Mercantile Marine—Shipwrecked Vessels—Question

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether his attention has been called to the debate in the Legislative Assembly of Melbourne on the propriety of Her Majesty's ships calling at the islands between the Cape of Good Hope and Australia to relieve those shipwrecked upon them; and, if so, what steps he has taken or proposes to take in the matter?

, in reply, said, he had not seen any report of the debate to which the hon. Member referred; but the Admiralty had received a communication from Lloyd's Committee on the subject, and in the Correspondence which had ensued Her Majesty's Governmens had expressed their views and intentions on the matter. As the story was too long to give in an Answer to a Question it would be more convenient if the hon. Member would move for a copy of the Correspondence, in order that those views and intentions might be put before the House.

Explosives Substances Act, 1875—Dynamite Explosion In South Wales—Question

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If he has seen by the report of the Coroner's Inquest on the dynamite explosion at Maesteg, South Wales, that there was at least one hundred and fifty pounds of dynamite in a man-hole of the tunnel where the explosion took place on the 21st of April; if he has observed by the report that naked lights were used where the parties in charge were handling the dynamite; if he has had it brought under his notice that the charges for exploding with were all made in the man-hole where the dynamite was stored; whether he will, if it is not already provided for by the Act of Parliament, bring in a Bill to prevent the use of naked lights where dynamite is stored underground; and, whether he will make provisions in it against the storing of such large quantities of dynamite, and make provision that it must not be prepared for use where it is stored?

, in reply, reminded the hon. Member that he had already stated that he had thought the matter so important that he had directed the Inspector to make a special inquiry, quite independently of the Coroner's inquest, into the facts of the case, under the 66thsection of the Explosives Act of last Session. That inquiry had been held, but the Inspector had not yet made his Report. As soon as he did so the Report would, in accordance with the provisions of the Act, be laid upon the Table of the House, when such action would be taken upon it as the Government might think right. The work in the tunnel where the explosion took place had been carried on with an unexpired licence under the old Act. The new Act required that the place where dynamite was stored should not be used for any other purpose. He had no doubt that that Act would be quite sufficient to meet the exigencies of the case to which the hon. Member had referred.