HC Deb 05 July 1881 vol 263 c21

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether his attention has been directed to the circumstances under which, on the 25th ultimo, two British subjects were detained for one night on board the Russian war-ship "Peter the Great," then at anchor in the Clyde; and, if he can state whether such detention was justifiable and in accordance with International Law?


Sir, in the case referred to, one of two boatmen hired by the Russian naval officers to take them on board their ship, being intoxicated, assaulted one of the officers without provocation, and attempted to prevent him going on board. The Russian commander had to send a launch after the boat to rescue the officer; and, as the hour was late, he detained the two boatmen over night and brought them before the police magistrate next morning, by whom Gemmell, the man who committed the assault, was tried and convicted. The Russian officer, in so doing, did not exceed the power which the law accords to every private citizen to arrest a person who commits a crime in his presence, and bring him before a magistrate with the least possible delay.