HC Deb 02 September 1887 vol 320 cc913-4
MR.A.SUTHERLAND (Sutherland)

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether his attention has been called to the case of wrongous apprehension and imprisonment of two young men named respectively John Thomson and Duncan Leitch, at Whiteinch, near Glasgow, on 21st July last, on a charge of house breaking; whether, though there was no evidence against them, they were detained in prison for 12 days; whether they were repeatedly marched through crowded thoroughfares manacled, as described by themselves in The Glasgow Daily Mail; and, whether, in consideration of the hardship, public exposure, and loss of employment thus entailed upon innocent young men of unstained character, he will cause a thorough and impartial investigation to be made into the conduct of the police in this case?

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

This was not a case of wrongous apprehension. The police and the Public Prosecutor had before them the evidence of, at least, three respectable witnesses, who positively identified the men as having committed the crime; and the latter had no alternative but to put them on their trial, and would have failed in his duty to the public and to them had he not done so. The defence was an alibi, and was successful. The case was on the day of trial adjourned, at the request of the accused, in consequence of the absence of important witnesses for the defence. The necessity of the case required that they should be twice brought to the Court at Paisley from prison, and they were conveyed with as little publicity as possible. The Court House at Paisley abuts on the railway station; and in Glasgow they were conveyed by cab through the streets between the station and the prison.