§ MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Director of Public Prosecutions granted his fiat for a criminal prosecution in respect of the same libel for 409 which a civil action ("Wood v. Cox") was eventually brought when the jury awarded the plaintiff one farthing damages; whether his attention has also been called to the censure passed by the Lord Chief Justice on the Director of Public Prosecutions for his action in granting his fiat in that case; and, whether it is the practice of that official to grant his fiat for a criminal prosecution whenever a primâ facie case of libel in the legal sense is established, or only when the libel—Affects the public, and can be construed as calculated to disturb the peace of the community?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
Yes, Sir; my attention has been called to the observations made by the Lord Chief Justice on the action of the Director of Public Prosecutions in granting his fiat in this case. The Director imforms me that it is his practice, in the exercise of his discretion, to grant his fiat for a criminal prosecution when he considers that the libel affects the public, and can be construed as calculated to disturb the peace of the community; and that in the case of "Wood v. Cox" those conditions were satisfied in his judgment, and he granted his fiat accordingly.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL
asked, whether an account, which professed to be given by Mr. George Lewis, of what took place was accurate?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
Sir Augustus Stephenson. In regard to the other Question put to me, I really have no information.