HC Deb 14 March 1889 vol 333 cc1625-6
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

asked the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to the case of John Mackinnon, of Barra, a prisoner on bail, who had to undertake a difficult and dangerous journey, occupying four days, in order to record a formal plea of "not guilty" at Lochmaddy; whether he has received representations as to the great inconvenience to which inhabitants of the Outer Hebrides are exposed through the arrangements of Pleading Diets under the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act; and, whether he will consider the propriety of modifying present arrangements?


My attention has been called to the case of John Mackinnon, and a representation has been made to me of the inconvenience to which he was subjected. With reference to the second part of the question, I must remind the hon. Member that Pleading Diets in Sheriff Court cases not tried summarily (of which this was one) have existed for many years; the only change under the recent Statute being, that now the plea can be taken by the nearest Sheriff Substitute, instead of by the Sheriff of the Court where the case would eventually be tried. In the representation made to me this change is stated to be a great improvement—which it certainly is. It is, however, undoubtedly a hardship that such long distances should have to be traversed if it can possibly be avoided, and I shall consider whether any modification of the existing arrangements can be made.