§ MR. MACDONALD
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If his attention has been directed to the report in the "Western Mail" of the 21st inst. of the trial and conviction of Benjamin Thomas, Manager of the Weigfach Colliery, near Swansea for a breach of "The Mines Act, 1872;" 599 whether, considering that no less than eighteen persons lost their lives through the offence, he will deal with the case under the thirty-second Clause of "The Mines Act, 1872:" if he has considered the small amount of the fine, £20, imposed by the Statute in such cases: and, if he will this Session bring in a measure that will substantially deal with cases of this kind.
MR. ASSHETON CROSS,
in reply, said, that his attention had been directed to the case in question, but the Inspector had not yet sent in his final Report, because certain legal proceedings before the magistrates were not yet concluded. When these proceedings were terminated, the Report would be placed in his hands, and he should then be able to determine whether he would deal with the case under the 32nd clause of the Act. The amount of the fine (£20) imposed by the statute in such cases might be small; but it should be borne in mind that persons guilty of negligence might be indicted for manslaughter or misdemeanour. With regard to the 32nd section of the Mines Regulation Act, he was afraid the managers of mines had been in the habit of looking at it somewhat as a dead letter, and he had therefore twice during the present year ordered an investigation into the conduct of the manager of a mine under that section, for the purpose of showing managers that it was not a dead letter, and that if they broke it they would be liable to be punished with the loss of their certificates.