HC Deb 13 February 1866 vol 181 c450

asked the Attorney General, Whether any steps have been taken to prosecute the Reverend George Rogers Harding, Patrick Robert Welch, and the Hon. Richard Bethell, or any of them, for corrupt practices in obtaining, or attempting to obtain, a judicial appointment, as suggested by the Report of the Select Committee on the Leeds Bankruptcy Court; and, if no such steps have yet been taken, what is the cause of the delay?


said, that in accordance with the recommendation of the Select Committee appointed by the last Parliament, and with the engagement which the Government gave at that time, criminal informations were filed last Michaelmas Term against Mr. Welch and the Hon. Richard Bethell, and they now stood on the list for trial at the present sittings; and as far as the Crown was concerned, they were ready to proceed to trial. As to the Rev. Mr. Harding, I think that the hon. Gentleman will feel that if the Crown had prosecuted him it would have thrown delay and difficulty in the way of a proper investigation of the matter; because Mr. Hording will be a most necessary witness, and it would indeed be impossible to proceed with the prosecution without his evidence.