HC Deb 07 August 1888 vol 329 cc1826-7
MR. COBB (Warwick, S.E., Rugby)

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether, in the bankruptcy of Messrs. Greenway, the bankers, of Warwick and Leamington, there was upon the books of the bank undoubted and ample evidence that, for many years after the bankrupts knew that they were insolvent, they continued to carry on business and received hundreds of thousands of pounds from the public, a great part of which had either been spent by the bankrupts or lost by them in reckless speculation; whether, in the recent prosecution of the Messrs. Green-way, any general charge in respect of such practices was included in the indictment in addition to the special counts for fraud; and, whether such practices constitute an indictable offence under the Bankruptcy or Debtors Acts; and, if not, whether he will introduce a Bill early next Session to strengthen the law, so that in future bankrupt debtors who, after knowledge of insolvency, have continued to carry on business, and have in doing so lost the money of their creditors in rash and hazardous speculation, or used it for unjustifiable expenditure in living, may be dealt with under the Criminal Law?


The question whether these bankrupts carried on business after knowledge of insolvency is one which will come before the Courts if the bankrupts apply for their discharge. No charge in respect of such a practice was included in the indictment against them in the recent prosecution; because, as I am advised, no such charge could be sustained under the criminal provisions of the Bankruptcy Act. The point will be considered in connection with any future amendment of the Bankruptcy Law.


asked, whether the right hon. Gentleman proposed to bring in a Bill next Session to amend the law?


I cannot make any promise of that kind.