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Eamonn Hamilton

Volume 648: debated on Thursday 9 November 1961

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has given further consideration to the additional information about the case of Eamonn Hamilton, given to him by the hon. Member for Ladywood; and whether he will arrange for an inquiry to be held in order to ascertain whether there has been a miscarriage of justice.

I have inquired into this case and can find no grounds for thinking that there may have been a miscarriage of justice.

In relation to the newspaper article which I forwarded to the Home Secretary, may I ask whether he has considered the words which this woman used, namely:

"I took my knife and stuck it in his chest. He dropped. I knew that I had murdered him and I was glad."
This has caused grievous distress to my constituents whose son is serving life imprisonment for this murder. It has also caused distress to the parents of the man who was killed, and in whom my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Exchange (Mrs. Braddock) is interested. In these circumstances, will the right hon. Gentleman cause an inquiry to be made into the matter?

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Will you clarify a point? As far as we can understand, at least one of the statements read out has appeared only in a newspaper and, therefore, could be quoted only from a newspaper. How does that question differ from the other with regard to your Ruling?

It does not. I was not very good at hearing the hon. Member in the early part of that question. I heard the latter part of it.

I was referring to the newspaper article which I passed to the Home Secretary.

Passing it to anybody does not bring quoting from it into order at Question Time.

Is the Home Secretary aware that all the details were sent to him by me, arising from the fact that I had a visit from the father and mother of the man who was murdered? They are very concerned to think that somebody who may be completely innocent is serving a term of imprisonment. Is there no possibility of the Home Secretary instituting an immediate and full inquiry into the statements in the Press and also the statements that have been sent to him?

The Home Secretary is always in a very difficult situation when a case has been tried and certain decisions have been arrived at. I have not so far received any evidence which would cause me to alter my Answer, but if any hon. Member wishes to see me or bring me further evidence I will certainly examine it.

Is it not extraordinary that an article of this kind can be written in a newspaper—and I understand it has been brought to the attention of the right hon. Gentleman— without any inquiry whatsoever? Will the right hon. Gentleman have an immediate inquiry made to see whether a man who is entirely innocent is serving a term of imprisonment?

If the hon. Lady had listened to my reply, she would have heard that I have inquired into this case. I have made as full inquiries as we ever do in each case on the basis of the evidence submitted. If there is fresh evidence, I will also investigate that.

Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible date.