HC Deb 13 May 1886 vol 305 cc903-4
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether he has received a Memorial from a number of clergymen and other gentlemen in Glasgow, fraudulently induced to entrust money to D. V. A. Nero, presently awaiting his trial for falsehood, fraud, and wilful imposition, calling attention to the long delay which has taken place in bringing the accused to trial, and asking that their money, stated to be in the hands of the Crown authorities, may be returned to them; and, whether he intends taking any steps in connection with the matter?

THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. B. BALFOUR)&c.) (Clackmannan

I did receive the Memorial referred to in the Question. The charge against Nero was fully investigated by the Procurator Fiscal, and the evidence obtained was repeatedly considered by Crown counsel, with the result that it has been found necessary to drop criminal proceedings, because the evidence available in this country was not sufficient to warrant his being brought to trial. I have no power to require witnesses to come from America to this country to give evidence; and it is very doubtful, even if American witnesses had agreed to come, their testimony would have been sufficient to establish the charge. When criminal proceedings were dropped, I had no power to detain the property of Nero. If the persons from whom he obtained money considered that they had a claim against him in respect of it, and desired to make his property in the hands of the police available for repayment, their proper course was to have instituted civil proceedings, and to have attached the property. I have no power to interfere in any such civil claims.