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Father Ingram (Newspaper Comments)

Volume 531: debated on Monday 26 July 1954

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3.

asked the Attorney-General if he is aware that, before the expiration of the necessary time for appeal in the case of the sentenced Father Ingram, the "Sunday Pictorial" and the "Daily Mirror" passed adverse comment and opinions concerning Father Ingram, on matters not mentioned in the trial; and, as this will prejudice this man's appeal, what action he proposes to take.

I have considered the newspaper articles referred to in the hon. Member's Question. On the information at present available to me I do not propose to take any action.

While thanking the Government and the Attorney-General for that reply, and appreciating that the newspapers originally did a public service, may I ask whether, though the Attorney-General may not be able to take legal action against them, newspapers should not be advised not to pass adverse comment and attack individuals pending the time of their appeal, so as to allow people proper opportunity to go through the Court of Appeal?

This is a matter on which the House can express its own view without any assistance from me. I was dealing only with the legal aspect of the matter, and at the moment I am not in a position to take any action.