§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
asked the Lord Advocate, Whether he is aware that a Mr. Gorrie, of Crieff, in Perthshire, was on the evening of December 1, while walking by himself on the pavement in a street of that town, accosted by a policeman, ordered to come off the pavement, and then arrested and locked up all night in a cell, though he offered to find bail, and that he was charged by the police with a breach of the peace opposite to the house and shop of a certain Mr. Bain, who appeared in Mr. Gorrie's behalf, and swore that, his door being open, he heard all that occurred, and that Mr. Gorrie neither swore nor in any way committed a breach of the peace; whether Baillie Cochrane found Gorrie guilty, but dismissed him with a warning, and in doing so, laid stress upon the fact that Gorrie had been previously convicted; whether it is the fact that upon such previous occasion Gorrie was sentenced to 100 days' imprisonment, and that such sentence was, under the circumstances of the case, illegal; whether the action of the police was legal in arresting and locking up the man without allowing him to get bail; and, whether he will make an inquiry into the circumstances of the case generally?
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. M. T. STORMONTH DARLING)(who replied) said (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)
The Lord Advocate has made inquiry into this case. Gorrie was charged on December 3, with having on December 1 committed breach of the peace on two different occasions. An agent who appeared for him asked for an adjournment to the 5th, on which day the case was tried, evidence being led for the defence as well as for the prosecution. The magistrate found him guilty of the first charge; but found the second charge not proven. The evidence of Mr. Bain referred to the latter charge only. The previous convictions, by desire of the Magistrate, were not put in evidence against Gorrie, 879 who was dismissed with an admonition, the magistrate thinking that leniency might have a beneficial effect on him. It was the fact that Gorrie was, on a previous occasion, sentenced to 100 days' imprisonment; and, as regards the legality of the sentence, I beg to refer the hon. Member to an answer given in this House by the late Lord Advocate on the 12th of April. The action of the police in arresting and detaining Gorrie was legal. No application was made for liberation on bail before Gorrie was taken before the magistrate on the 3rd.