§ MR. EVELYN ASHLEY
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the dismissal by the petty sessions at Poole last week of a case against a shipowner, in which the Home Office prosecuted and laid the information under the eleventh Section of "The Merchant Shipping Act, 1871;" and, whether he has been informed that the grounds of this decision were, that "unseaworthiness "in the above-named section does not include" overloading," that "sending" a ship to sea in the same section does not include "taking," and that receivable evidence of the defective state of a ship's hull and equipment, for the purpose of such a prosecution, must be the result of a survey and not the statements of those on board?
MR. ASSHETON CROSS
, in reply, said, his attention had been called to this case for the same reason that the President of the Board of Trade had just given to the hon. Member for Stafford—namely, that the prosecution had been ordered by himself. He was very much surprised at the result of the inquiry before the magistrates, and he had made application for the reasons of the conclusions to which the magistrates had come. Owing, probably, to the shortness of the time, the only answer he had received to his application was a newspaper containing a report of the proceedings, which he already had in his possession before he wrote. The grounds of that decision were, he believed, pretty much the same as those mentioned by the hon. Member in his Question, and it was his intention to lay the whole matter before the Law Officers of the Crown, with the view of taking such proceedings as might be thought desirable.