HC Deb 19 August 1887 vol 319 cc1253-4


Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Consideration of Lords Amendments [18th August].

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

I would ask, does the Lord Advocate intend to continue this Bill, after all these changes made in its principle?

THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)

No doubt, there are a considerable number of changes on the Paper; but they are small Amendments, and most of them of a practical character. I have followed them carefully, with hon. Members interested, especially with my Predecessor, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Clackmannan (Mr. J. B. Balfour); and we are perfectly satisfied. The only two Amendments that really make any alteration in the Bill arose out of a new clause, put down as an Amendment by the hon. Member for the St. Rollox Division of Glasgow (Mr. Caldwell). This he did not move in Committee; but allowed the other clauses to be disposed of. It was impossible to put if; into shape without careful consultation with those having technical knowledge of the subject. It was carefully gone over, and the hon. Member is perfectly satisfied that the Lords' Amendment carries out his intention. The other Amendments are merely of a formal character.


I am not satisfied with the explanation, and I must ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman if he considers that such a vital change as that made in the period of he days, for which a man being kept in prison without trial, and could no longer be imprisoned or afterwards tried, is of a formal character. Then there is a change in regard to the right to see prisoners after they are taken in charge. This is not the time, and considering the hour when we are to meet again, it does not give us an opportunity to consider these important changes, especially that which gives power to extend the 110 days period. Modifications of Scotch law should be in a direction more favourable to the prisoner. But I think it would be absurd to attempt to raise these points now, and beg to move the adjournment of the debate.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned." —(Dr. Clark)


The clause directly limits the time, and if you look at it you will see that it only operates in the case of absolute necessity arising from three causes, either from the illness of the prisoner himself, or from the illness or absence of a necessary witness. All these causes, too, are in accordance with common law.

Question put, and agreed to.

Debate further adjourned till Monday next.