HC Deb 12 February 1878 vol 237 cc1535-6

asked the President of the Local Government Board, If his attention has been called to a recent decision by the High Court of Justiciary, Scotland, concerning "The Sale of Food and Drugs Act, 1875,"by which five Judges have decided that no offence can be proved on evidence taken from any article specially brought for analysis, the buyer in such case not having been prejudiced in the purpose for which he bought it; and, further, that two of the Judges, Lords Moncrieff and Young, expressed the opinion that the 6th section does not prevent tampering with an article to the deterioration of its quality, if without the addition of extraneous matter; and, whether he purposes taking any steps to prevent the Act in question becoming a dead letter?


My attention has been called to the decision by the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland to which the hon. Gentleman refers, and I regret that I have not had an opportunity of conferring with the Lord Advocate on the subject. It seems that previous to the Scottish case alluded to no question had been raised in England as to the validity of a prosecution under the Sale of Food and Drugs Act by a person who purchases only with a view to analysis, and in the cases which have occurred since, the magistrates have decided against the objection when raised. I concur in that view, which, be it observed, is also the view of some of the Scottish Judges, and I cannot believe that the High Court of Justice, if appealed to, will come to any other decision. I am, therefore, not prepared, as at present advised, to introduce an amending Bill, though, if my anticipations were disappointed, such step might be necessary.