§ DR. R. MACDONALD (Ross and Cromarty)
asked the Lord Advocate, If it is true that Mrs. Smith, wife of John Smith, a cooper, of Perceval Row, Stornoway, was publicly arrested on the street there, by two policemen, on Saturday evening, the 16th ultimo, and conveyed to the police station, nearly a mile away, followed by a large crowd; whether the police, when she was arrested, on the way to the station, in answer to her repeated demands to know what the charge against her was, refused over and over again to give her any information on the matter; whether the police had a warrant to arrest her, and, if they had, why they refused 714 to produce it on its being demanded; whether one of these officers, in attempting in vain to find his warrant in his pockets, and failing to find it, told Mrs. Smith—We can apprehend men and women, and search carts or anything else passing the streets, at any time we like, without a warrant, or anything else, as we like, ourselves;whether, on arrival at the police station, Mrs. Smith's basket was opened, and a phial of whisky found among its contents; whether the police detained this phial and whisky, even though Mrs. Smith told them she bought it at a certain shop, which they could have verified for themselves, until she sent a special messenger to the shop to prove her statements; whether the police then sent Mrs. Smith about her business, without any expressions of regret for the mistake they had made; and whether, on an apology being demanded from them later on, they treated the demand with silence; whether he is aware that a public subscription is being largely contributed to by the inhabitants to compel the police to apologize publicly for their acts, and to prevent similar conduct by the police in the future; and, whether he will inquire into all the circumstances of the case?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)
It appears that Mrs. Smith was seen coming out of a shop licensed by the Excise to sell beer and porter, where the police suspected illicit trafficking in whisky. Mrs. Smith was asked what she had in a basket which she carried. She refused to tell, and abused the constables, who told her that unless she showed them the contents she must go with them to the police office, which is about 300 yards, and not one mile, distant. This she agreed to do. It is not the fact that she was followed by a large crowd. The police had no warrant with them to arrest, nor did they pretend to have any other than a general authority to arrest. At the station a phial of whisky was found in the basket. Mrs. Smith said she purchased the whisky in another shop. No messenger was sent to the shop to verify her statement. She was not detained five minutes in the police station after the Inspector heard the charge, 715 and she went away with her basket and whisky. I am not aware that any public subscription is being got up in any way connected with this matter; but I am informed that the Inspector offered to send the policeman to apologize to Mrs. Smith, but a sum of money was demanded instead.
§ MR. J. H. A. MACDONALD
said, he, was informed the police had information which led them to suspect Mrs. Smith.