HC Deb 30 April 1883 vol 278 cc1417-8

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether he can inform the House of the grounds on which Mr. Edward Hunter, a respectable resident in Hamilton, was apprehended there on the third day of October last, at the instance of the Procurator Fiscal, and, on the following day, after having, on examination before the sheriff, declared his innocence of the charge made against him, was handcuffed to a policeman and taken to the prison at Glasgow, where he was confined for eight days and then liberated, without ever having been brought to trial or any evidence adduced against him; whether he can state the persons on whose testimony the imprisonment took place; whether the public prosecutor who conducted these proceedings was also law agent for the nobleman at whose instance they originated; and, whether, in the circumstances, such imprisonment was justifiable according to the law of Scotland?


The person referred to in my hon. Friend's Question—Mr. Edward Hunter, a spirit dealer in Hamilton—was apprehended on 3rd October last, and charged on the following day before the Sheriff with complicity in thefts of game and embezzlement of the proceeds alleged to have been committed by his uncle, a gamekeeper. He denied the charge, and was committed to prison for further examination, and was confined for eight days and then liberated. The circumstances of the apprehension and detention in prison are correctly stated, except that I am unable to say whether Hunter was handcuffed or not, as the report which I have received this morning does not give the information which I desired on that point. The Procurator Fiscal was not the law agent for the Nobleman whose game was said to have been stolen, and the prosecution was not instituted on the information or instigation of him or his law agents, but upon other information which the Procurator considered credible. It is not contrary to the law of Scotland that a prisoner, after being brought before a magistrate and charged with an offence—which was done without delay in the present case —should be committed to prison for further examination—or, as it is called in England, remanded—for a period which in practice does not exceed eight days.