HC Deb 15 June 1882 vol 270 cc1246-7

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether, since by sections 146, 148, and 151 of "The Spirits Act, 1880," it is enacted that any person who, in Scotland, sells or exposes to sale spirits, otherwise than in premises for which he is licensed to sell spirits, shall incur a penalty of not less than £25, with forfeiture of the spirits in his possession; that any person who buys or procures spirits from such unlicensed person shall incur a fine of £100; and that any officer or person employed by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue who, by any wilful act, neglect, or default, does or permits, or agrees to do or permit, any thing in contravention or evasion of "The Spirits Act, 1880," shall incur a fine of £500, and be disqualified from serving Her Majesty in any office or employment; if he would state what officer or person in the employment of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue is responsible for permitting, and agreeing to permit, a contravention or evasion of this Act, in Peterhead, by three persons allowed by the Excise authorities, after attention had been called to the fact in this House, to sell liquor without confirmation of their certificates, and without licences, as if they were licensed grocers and publicans; and, whether the Commissioners of Inland Revenue intend taking any action in respect of their officer's deliberate breach of section 151 of the Spirits Act of 1880?


Sir, the Hoard of Inland Revenue are alone responsible for the course which was advisedly pursued in the special circumstances of these cases; and, therefore, action will not be taken against any of their officers in the matter. The Board did not grant licences; they only abstained for a short period at their discretion from Excise interference with the sale of liquor, the Justices' clerk having had reason to believe that a further Court would be held about the middle of this month. Any other course of action would have been unjust towards the applicants, who, but for the accidental non-attendance of a quorum in the Confirmation Court, would doubtless have had their certificates fully confirmed past all dispute. If, notwithstanding this explanation, any person should consider himself aggrieved by the action of the magistrates and the Commissioners, it is open to him to contest the matter by proceeding before the magistrates for a penalty for the sale of intoxicating liquor without a magistrate's certificate.