asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Inasmuch as it is enacted by section one hundred and fifty-one of "The Spirits Act, 1880," that every officer or person employed by the Excise who, by any wilful act, neglect, or default, does, or permits or agrees to do or permit anything in contravention or evasion of that Act, shall incur a fine of five hundred pounds, and shall thereafter be disqualified from serving Her Majesty in any office or employment, and, by section forty-six of "The Spirits Act, 1880 [...]ts that—If any person hawks, sells, or exposes to sale, any spirits otherwise than in premises for which he is licensed to sell spirits,he shall, in Scotland, incur a fine of not less than twenty-five pounds, and the spirits shall be forfeited, and any person may arrest a person found committing an offence against that section; and, whether the "Ship" Inn, Dumfries, has for some months past been openly conducted as a public house without a licence; and, if so, why the Executive Government allow the officers or servants of the Excise in whose district Dumfries is situated, or those Excise officials under whose instructions they act, to permit this contravention or evasion of "The Spirits Act, 1880?"
§ MR. COURTNEY
This is an extremely argumentative Question, and I reply to it under protest. The answer I have to give is this. In cases in which magistrates have practically granted a licence, and it is only withheld temporarily and for some formal reason, the Excise authorities do not think it part of their duty to refuse to accept the equivalent of the duty, or to take, or to allow their subordinates to take, any action for a breach of the Act of 1880, which is, in fact, not broken in spirit in such cases. If my hon. Friend or anyone else thinks that in any particular case the sale should be stopped and the 903 penalties sued for, they have the remedy in their own hands.
asked under what Statute the Excise had powers to grant licences without the permission of the magistrates being had?
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, the officials had power to do anything for which there was no penalty, and in this case there was no official penalty.