§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
asked a Question of which he had given the Secretary of State for the Home Department private Notice—namely, Whether in the case of the man Coleman alleged to have been assaulted by the police after he was in actual custody in Bow Street Police Station, on the 13th of November, and which case the right hon. Gentleman stated on Friday last had been sprung upon the Government and the House by him (Mr. Bradlaugh), without any previous Notice or proceedings, it was not the fact that evidence on oath was given as to this assault before Mr. Vaughan, in open Court at Bow Street, the Treasury Solicitor being 187 present; that a summons for the assault was granted by Mr. Vaughan against the police constable on sworn information duly filed in Court; whether, Cole-man being a prisoner, an order from the Home Office authorities was applied for for the attendance and examination of Coleman at the hearing of the Court; whether, on the return of the summons before Mr. Bridge, the magistrate sitting at Bow Street, half an hour's adjournment was not asked for on the ground that Coleman's solicitor was then actually speaking in another Court in another case, and that Coleman himself had not yet been brought up from prison; whether counsel for the Government did not oppose such brief adjournment; whether the summons against the police was thereupon dismissed with £ 10 costs, without any hearing and in the actual absence of both Coleman and his attorney; whether such of the sworn informations referred to had not been in the possession of the Solicitor to the Treasury for more than two months; and, whether such information had not been submitted to the Director of Prosecutions or to the Law Officers of the Crown?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
I have privately informed the hon. Member that I was unable to answer the Question today. Indeed, I never heard the terms of the Question until the hon. Member read it just now. The moment his Notice arrived it was sent over to the Solicitor to the Treasury; but I have not yet been able to obtain the information asked for.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
The reason why I did not postpone the Question was that there was a direct challenge of fact from the right hon. Gentleman on Friday to myself.