HC Deb 26 March 1886 vol 304 cc34-5
MR. H. J. WILSON (York, W.R., Holmfirth)

asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether, in a recent case in the Divorce Court, it was decided that evidence upon which a respondent was found guilty of adultery was not receivable as against the co-respondent; whether, in cases of conspiracy, it has been decided that evidence receivable against one prisoner is receivable also against another prisoner who is jointly charged with that offence; whether it has also been decided that, where two persons are jointly charged with conspiracy, both must be found guilty or both acquitted; and, whether he is prepared to take steps with a view to making the Law of Evidence in cases of adultery similar to the Law of Evidence in cases of conspiracy?


The rule as to the non-admissibility of evidence mentioned in the first part of the Question is one which has been recognized in every Court of Law in the Kingdom, and is well established. A statement made, as in the case put, is evidence against the person making it, but not against any other person, if that person was not present when it was made. This rule does not affect the law relating to conspiracy, which is as stated in the Question. I see no reason, as at present advised, for such an alteration in the rules of evidence as the hon. Member proposes.


With your permission, Sir, I wish to throw myself upon the indulgence of the House while I say a few words with reference to the Question which has just been asked. It is apparently an abstract Question; but it cannot but be taken as referring to the case in which I was recently concerned. I wish to ask the leave of the House to appeal to the hon. Member who put the Question that if he thinks right that the matter should be mentioned here, he should raise it in a form which would enable me, in some way, to meet it in the House.