HC Deb 26 July 1883 vol 282 c515

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If his attention has been called to two mining cases recently tried before the White-haven magistrates; if it is true, as stated in the "West Cumberland Times," that Messrs. Simpson and Ferguson, the owner and manager respectively of a colliery at Harrington, wore convicted of having allowed naked lights to be used in one of their pits after gas had been seen; if, as a result of this, two men were killed; if it was admitted that the man appointed to report could neither read nor write, though the Act prescribes that the report shall be in writing; whether the magistrates, for this serious violation of the Mines Regulation Act, imposed a fine of only 25s. each upon the owner and manager; whether his attention has been called to the case of two young miners, who were brought before the same magistrates on a subsequent day, charged with having unlocked a safety lamp in the Croft Pit, Whitehaven, and wore sentenced to a month's imprisonment each, with hard labour; and, whether, if these statements are correct, any steps can be taken to secure that a uniform punishment may be inflicted for the same offence?


, in reply, said, he had no power to equalize the punishment in these cases. In the first case referred to, the charge was for carelessness, and it was disputed whether the danger was such as to require extra precautions. In the second case, the charge was a wilful act of opening a safety lamp.