HC Deb 01 April 1881 vol 260 c464

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If he will state under what Law or Statute the editor of the "Freiheit" newspaper was arrested, deprived of his watch, money, bank book, and letters; and under what Law or Statute the police were authorised in forcibly ejecting the compositors from the premises, seizing the keys, and locking up the house?


Sir, the editor of The Freiheit newspaper was arrested under a warrant issued by Sir James Ingham; that warrant was granted upon sworn information that an indictable offence had been committed, and was a perfectly legal warrant. I am informed by the police authorities that upon his arrest the defendant voluntarily divested himself of all property on his person. He was requested to retain possession of it, but declined to do so, wishing a friend to hold the articles for him. The police then took possession of the articles, which are, I believe, with a slight exception, correctly described in the noble Lord's Question. The watch, money (amounting to £2), and a loan, not bank, book have been restored to the accused person. No one was forcibly ejected from the premises. When a person is arrested on a criminal charge the police doubtless would, in the execution of their duty, take possession of any documents or property from which evidence bearing upon the case might reasonably be expected to be obtained. It is necessary for the administration of justice that this should be done. If the police exceed their duty in this respect, anyone injured would have a right of action. The room which was occupied by the accused has been temporarily locked up for the sake of the protection of his property; but the rest of the house and the workshop are occupied.