asked the Lord Advocate, "Whether two cases of suspected infanticide in March and April last were reported by the Police to the Procurator Fiscal of Sutherlandshire; whether it is true that in one case the dead body of a child was discovered in an ashpit, and in the other there was evidence that a child which had been born had disappeared; and, whether the Procurator Fiscal held any inquiry into the cases; and, if so, when the Crown authorities received his precognitions?
THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. B. BALFOUR)
Sir, two cases of suspected infanticide were reported by the police to the Procurator Fiscal of Sutherlandshire—one in March, and the other in April or the beginning of May. In one case the body of the child has not been found, and in the other it was found near the house where the accused person lived. The precognitions in both cases were reported to the Crown Office on the 6th of this month. In the first case, the child was born on 14th March, and the first witness was examined on the 27th of March. The delay in the proceedings is accounted for by the Procurator Fiscal by the necessity of finding the reputed father, who had absconded, and whoso evidence was essential. The delay in the second case has not yet been satisfactorily explained, but an explanation will be called for.