HC Deb 17 March 1881 vol 259 cc1248-9

asked the Lord Advocate, if his attention has been called to the account of a meeting of the Dumfries Quarter Sessions, which appeared in the "North British Daily Mail," Glasgow, on the 7th instant, and at which meeting it was stated that the Chief of the Police had taken money at Langholm in name of fines for offences against the Weights and Measures Act without any court being held; whether, considering the grave nature of the charges, he will direct an inquiry to be made into the whole circumstances of the case with the view of satisfying the public mind on the subject; and, further, when the Report is made, if he will lay it upon the Table of the House to be printed and circulated among the Members?


Sir, I beg to say that I have inquired into the case referred to by my hon. Friend. It is not the case that the Chief Constable of Dumfriesshire levied-money on the parties accused without the intervention of a Court. The fact was that, in consequence of only one Justice being present in the Court, it was necessary to adjourn the trial, and the Chief Constable, who was prosecutor in the case, agreed, if his costs were paid, that he would abandon the prosecution. That was, of course, quite irregular, and the money was repaid. I have caused a letter to be written expressing my sense of the irregularity of the course.