HC Deb 06 September 1887 vol 320 cc1344-5
MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether Edwin Duniam, Chief Officer of the steamship City of Bristol was, at Belfast, on the 1st of June last, sentenced to a month's imprisonment, with the option of a fine, in consequence of the discovery by the Customs officers, in a chain looker of the fore-peak hatch of the ship, of about 20 lbs. of tobacco and cigars; whether the ground of the conviction was that Duniam had the key of the fore-peak hatch; whether it is the fact that the crew had continual access to the hatch, which was used as an ordinary store or lumber room, and whether anyone could enter, without touching the lock, by merely removing a bolt; whether, although Duniam pleaded this state of facts before the Collector of Customs and the magistrate, his request to have certain members of the crew examined on oath was not complied with; whether, protesting his innocence and refusing to pay the tine, he was committed to prison, but released next day, the fine having been paid on his behalf without his consent or knowledge; whether, in consequence of a refusal to refund the sum of £20, paid by the owners of the City of Bristol to clear the ship at Belfast on 31st May, except on condition of the dismissal of Duniam, the owners have dismissed him from their employment, after 20 years of service, though satisfied of his innocence; and, whether the case will be made the subject of inquiry?


The facts of the case are substantially as stated in the Question, with some exceptions, and the Commissioners of Customs have directed a further inquiry to he made.