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Armed Trespass (Prosecutions)

Volume 22: debated on Wednesday 28 April 1982

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asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many prosecutions there have been in the latest convenient year for armed trespass.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I sent him on 24 February 1982.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the figure that he mentioned is very disappointing? Is not the only way to reduce poaching in Scotland for offenders to be apprehended by the police with far greater enthusiasm and subsequently to be prosecuted by the procurator fiscal? That is how we shall stop armed trespass, particularly on the foreshore in Scotland.

I know that my. hon. Friend is particularly worried about criminal trespass on the foreshore in Scotland. As hon. Members appreciate, the foreshore in Scotland enjoys a particular legal status. In a case in the sheriff court at Dumfries there were difficulties about criminal trespass, possibly on the foreshore. That issue probably requires to be resolved by a civil action. It is not one that should properly be considered in a summary criminal court.

Will the Solicitor-General dissociate himself from the view expressed by his predecessor in an article inThe Times yesterday, that the reintroduction of capital punishment would have the effect of deterring criminals from offences such as armed trespass?

I have read the article to which the hon. Gentleman referred, but I did not understand that my hon. and learned predecessor was suggesting that capital punishment should be reintroduced for this crime.