HC Deb 05 July 1880 vol 253 cc1637-8

asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether the Government intend to institute a prosecution against the voter for Evesham, on account of whose corrupt practices the late election at that borough has been declared void; whether any machinery exists by which that person can be brought to justice; and, whether he will be entitled to vote at the forthcoming election?


In answer to that portion of the Question of the hon. Gentleman which refers to the institution of a prosecution, I have to say that it is not my intention to advise the Government to take any proceedings against this voter. The duty of the Government, or rather of the Attorney General, with regard to any person convicted of bribery is regulated by the 9th section of the Act of 1863; and if the hon. Gentleman refers to that statute he will find that it seems to be intended that prosecutions should be instituted after the Report of a Commission that extensive bribery had been committed. In answer to the second portion of the Question, I wish to point out that there is now a Public Prosecutor, whose duties are defined by the Act of last Session to be that he shall institute proceedings in any case to which his attention had been called, and in which he thinks proceedings would be justified. In answer to the third portion of the Question, whether this person is entitled to vote at the forthcoming election, it appears that the disqualification exists only when the person has an opportunity of being heard in answer to the charge; and it has been decided by high authority that a person called as a witness is not a person who has had an opportunity of answering a charge.