HC Deb 04 March 1880 vol 251 c302

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If he is in a position now to give any information in regard to the case of the men who were committed to gaol by the Falmouth magistrates for refusing to proceed to sea in a vessel which they alleged to be unseaworthy; and, whether this committal took place by the magistrates without a survey of the ship, although the men desired one to be made, and although there was a Board of Trade surveyor in the town?


Sir, my attention had been called to this case by my noble Friend the President of the Board of Trade before the Question was put on the Paper, and I have been in consultation with him, and have taken the best advice on the subject. In my opinion, the magistrates have made a mistake with regard to the Act of Parliament. It seems to me that they ought to have taken the evidence of a surveyor in the first instance, and then come to a conclusion, instead of which they seemed to have waited until they thought a survey was unnecessary. Undoubtedly, the survey ought to have been made by the Board of Trade surveyor, who was ready to hand. It was a great mistake on the part of the magistrates, and, under those circumstances, I have thought it right to let the men out of prison.