HC Deb 01 September 1887 vol 320 cc734-5

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether complaints have reached him that a citizen of Glasgow, Mr. J. H. Patterson, was arrested and questioned by two police constables on his way to his work; that he was searched in the open street, and then dragged to the police office, for no given reason; and that the lieutenant of police asked him there if he knew the National League was proclaimed; and, whether ha will inquire into the truth of these allegations? The hon. Member said, he wished to add that in the Question as handed in by him there was a clause which had been omitted from it as printed. The clause ran thus—" Whether "—


Order, order! That was omitted by my direction.

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

(who replied) said: A house was broken into on the date in question, and the man Patterson was stopped by the police in consequence of their observing a bulky article in an inside pocket. He was asked to give his name and address, and to show what he had in his pocket; but to all questions he replied by saying to the officers —" Go and find out." He refused to show what he had in his pockets. He was not searched nor dragged by the police. On reaching the police office he was again asked if he would show what the article was; and, having shown that it was a newspaper, he was at once liberated. The sergeant of police, who had brought him to the police office, gave a written expression of his regret to Patterson, who expressed his satisfaction with it, and told the District Superintendent that he did not wish the sergeant to be dealt with in any way for what had happened. Notwithstanding this an inquiry was ordered by the Acting Chief Constable, and Patterson was on two separate occasions invited to come to the inquiry, but did not take the trouble to come. Some conversation did take place after the newspaper was produced about the proclamation of the National League; but it was entirely of a passing kind. The Acting Chief Constable has informed the Inspector that conversation on general or political subjects ought to be avoided between police officials and persons who may be brought to the office and liberated, I have to-day received a further telegram, informing me that Patterson, on being visited by the Procurator Fiscal, has again expressed himself satisfied with the sergeant's expression of regret, and that this Question is not put by him or with his concurrence.