HC Deb 27 November 1888 vol 331 cc294-6
MR. J. SINCLAIR (Ayr Burghs)

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether his attention has been called to the case of Mr. Peter Luke, Inverary, whose name was removed from the Valuation Roll by Mr. Wyllie, Chamberlain to the Duke of Argyll, without the usual or any legal warning, and that of his father, an old bedridden man (since dead), substituted, without the consent of either of them; whether the Sheriff dismissed the claim of Mr. Luke as a voter on the ground that he was not an inhabitant occupier, though he had paid all rent and taxes, and his furniture remained in the house, and though it was proved in evidence that, though temporarily at work some miles off, he visited his home twice a-week, and usually slept there from Saturday to Monday; whether the Sheriff, in stating a case for the Appeal Court, took no account of the above facts, and so rendered an appeal to that Court practically hopeless; and, whether any redress is possible in such a case?


I am informed that, in making the statutory return to the assessor, Mr. Wyllie sent in the name of the father of Mr. Luke, and not the name of Mr. Luke, on the ground that the latter was not inhabiting and occupying the house. It appears that Mr. Luke was employed and had lodgings in Furnace, eight miles from Inverary, and only sometimes slept in the house in question from Saturday to Monday. The other circumstances of the two men are stated with substantial accuracy in the Question of the hon. Gentleman. The Sheriff held that Mr. Luke was not an inhabitant occupier. I understand that the parties failed to adjust a special case; that the Sheriff then prepared a case, to the terms of which the appellant objected; and that the appeal was abandoned. I am not surprised that an appeal should have been considered practically hopeless, even assuming the whole facts to have been fairly stated; and I have no reason to suppose that this was not the case. The duty of stating a case is incumbent on the Sheriff; and the only remedy for failure to fulfil this duty would seem to be the general one for dereliction of duty by way of petition and complaint.


asked, whether the evidence did not go to show that Mr. Luke visited his house twice a-week; that his furniture was in the house; and that he had all along been paying the rent and taxes?


said, the only difference was as to Mr. Luke's visits to the house, which he was informed were only occasional; but that would not make much difference in the legal result.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

asked, whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman would consider the condition of affairs on some estates, where the name of a tenant might be kept on the roll for 10 or 15 years after he had left or been dead, so as to prevent other names being substituted?


said, he must ask the hon. Member to give Notice of the Question.