asked the Lord Advocate, Whether Mr. R. of Aberdeen, recently discharged as cured from a lunatic asylum, has been served by the inspector of poor with an account for 736 £19 17s. 5d., of which only £5 represents the charge for his board in the asylum, and the rest fees to procurator fiscal, sheriff clerk, and medical men and other charges; and, whether Mr. R. was committed, as a dangerous lunatic, at the instance of the procurator fiscal, acting in the public interest; and, if so, on what ground the procurator fiscal charges, for performing a duty of his office, fees exceeding in amount the charge for the ten weeks' board in the asylum, and by whose authority the inspector paid the charge?
THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. B. BALFOUR)
I believe the account of expenses in this case is correctly stated in the Question. The person referred to was committed as a dangerous lunatic at the instance of the Procurator Fiscal, acting in the public interest, under the provisions of the 15th section of the Lunacy Act of 1862. That enactment authorizes the payment of expenses to the Procurator Fiscal, and the Inspector paid these expenses under the authority of the Sheriff's decree. I must add, however, that I had directed an investigation to be made into this case, before it was brought under the notice of the House by the vigilance of my hon. Friend. I have no hesitation in saying that this account of expenses against a young tradesman, who had the misfortune to suffer from temporary derangement, appears to me to be quite exorbitant. I express no opinion as to whether all the items of the account can be legally exacted or not, as I understand the account is to be made the subject of litigation; but we shall consider whether some restriction cannot be applied, by legislation if necessary, to the expenses of such proceedings.
suggested that the Lord Advocate should also include in his inquiry other cases in which similar charges had been made against Parochial Boards.