HC Deb 18 March 1887 vol 312 cc708-9
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether it is the case that William Cassels, sentenced on the 5th instant by the Sheriff Substitute at Portree to three weeks' imprisonment from his committal on De- comber 23, had been kept in prison awaiting trial 10 weeks from that date, or seven weeks beyond the term of his actual sentence; and, if he will explain why a prisoner ultimately tried summarily before a Court whose powers of imprisonment are limited to two months, was detained in prison 10 weeks awaiting trial?

THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H. A. MACDOXALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities)

I have made inquiry into this case. During last winter the time of the Procurator Fiscal of Skye was much occupied in consequence of important criminal investigations and trials, some of which latter took place in Edinburgh. But, while this, to some extent, explains the delay in Cassels' case, it does not, in my opinion, excuse it altogether, as I am satisfied that there was no sufficient cause for so long a detention in prison before trial, and my decision that this was so will be convoyed to the Procurator Fiscal. I ought to add that, although the offender was tried in the Summary Court, this was not the original intention, as Cassels was ordered by my Depute to be tried by a jury; and the order was only cancelled in consequence of the long and improper delay in preparing the case, Crown Counsel thinking it better to order trial at once in a Summary Court, rather than detain the accused over the additional time of notice required in jury cases.