HC Deb 10 May 1877 vol 234 cc615-6

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether the Secretary of State has received a memorial from the merchants, traders, and inhabitants of the British settlements on the River Gambia praying his Lordship to appoint to the office of chief magistrate at Bathurst a gentleman who has been educated and trained to the legal profession, and is a member of one of the Inns of Court of the United Kingdom; whether the chief magistrate is not required to act both as judge of assize and sole judge in all civil and Admiralty causes; and, whether a gentleman has been since appointed to this office who is neither a member of the Bar of the United Kingdom nor has received any kind of legal education?


The facts are substantially as stated by the hon. Member. The gentleman to whom he refers, and who is considered fully qualified for his present position, was appointed previous to the receipt of the memorial by the Secretary of State; but I ought to mention that although not a member of the legal profession he has had considerable judicial experience, having been upwards of 20 years in the Colonial service, and during the last 12 years has held an important legal post in another Colony. After the recent discussion in this House on the subject of the financial position of the Gambia, the hon. Gentleman will not be surprised at my adding that we are not prepared to embark upon any course involving an increase of expenditure.