§ MR. MONK
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the conviction of seven seamen at the Leith Police Court on Tuesday last, for smuggling twenty pounds of tobacco on board the steam ship "Dresden," and to the sentence upon each of them of a fine of £100, with imprisonment until such fines be paid, notwithstanding that it was proved that the real criminal had disappeared, and that, in the words of the presiding magistrate, "they had been proved innocent of guilty knowledge;" and, if the sentence be in accordance with Law, whether he will take into his consideration the amendment of that Law?
MR. ASSHETON CROSS,
in reply, said, that his attention had been called to the conviction and imprisonment of these seven seamen for smuggling tobacco at Leith, and on the day he heard of it, he also heard of their release. The magistrates thought they had no option but to convict under a particular statute, and the statutes relating to Customs' revenues were of a very stringent character. He had called the attention of the Customs authorities to the conviction, and asked them whether any relaxation in the statute would be desirable.