HC Deb 03 June 1886 vol 306 cc835-6
SIR R. ASSHETON CROSS (Lancashire, S.W., Newton)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he has received any report or information in relation to the arrest of Sir Thomas Fermor-Hesketh, when about to sail for America on board the S.S. Britannic at Liverpool on the 20th of May; whether he is aware that a bill of indictment had been preferred against Sir Thomas Hesketh, to establish his liability, ratione tenuræ, to repair a certain bridge in Northamptonshire; that Sir Thomas Hesketh's solicitor, on the 17th of May, informed the Clerk of the Peace that Sir Thomas admitted his liability, and would cause the bridge to be repaired; that thereafter the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire, without having applied for any warrant, and without any notice to or communication with Sir Thomas Hesketh, instructed the Liverpool police to arrest Sir Thomas, who was so arrested when on board the Britannic, on the point of starting for America, and removed in custody from the vessel; and, whether he will cause a full inquiry to be made into the conduct of all concerned in such proceedings?


said, the facts were as stated in the Question. The Chief Constable stated that a bill of indictment was preferred against Sir Thomas Hesketh on the 7th of May at the Northampton Sessions. The usual notice was given to the police, and on the 10th of May the Chief Constable wrote to Sir Thomas's solicitor asking him to arrange for the defendant to enter into the usual recognizances to appear at the next Sessions. The solicitor did not answer the letter, and on the 20th of May the Chief Constable, having received no reply to his letter, learnt that the defendant had taken passage for America without executing the recognizances which the law required. He therefore telegraphed to the Liverpool police to detain Sir Thomas; but upon the latter giving his word of honour that he would appear at the next Sessions, he was allowed to proceed on his voyage.


The right hon. Gentleman has not stated at whose instance the arrest was made, and whether he justifies it?


I have nothing to say to that. I have stated at whose instance the arrest was made. The Chief Constable's duty was to see that the recognizances were entered into; and I am instructed that the Secretary of State sees no reason to interfere in the matter, in which if Sir Thomas Hesketh feels aggrieved he has his remedy against the Chief Constable.