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Lambeth Licensing Prosecution

Volume 180: debated on Wednesday 14 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to a statement by a police inspector in a recent case at the Lambeth police court to the effect that the Commissioner of Police had issued an order directing that a licensed victualler, charged with selling intoxicating liquor to a drunken person, was not to be permitted to have such person examined by a private doctor; and will he say whether such order has been issued, and, if so, whether it has received the sanction of the Home Office.

There is a rule in operation to the effect that in cases of drunkenness medical men are called in at the instance of the person charged, but not at the instance of third parties. As a considerable time must always elapse between the discovery of a drunken person on licensed premises and the decision to issue a summons against the licensee, there would seldom be anything gained by allowing a licensee against whom a charge has been made to have the person who was drunk examined by his own medical man. To meet the case so far as possible, however, there is a rule that when proceedings are likely to be taken against a licensee, the divisional surgeon of police is to be called in to examine the drunken person. The working of the Rules I have mentioned is under my consideration.