§ MR. PICKARD (York, W.R., Normanton)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to a case tried on the 4th instant before the West Riding Magistrates, Wakefield, Yorkshire—namely, Naylor and Company v. John Hudson, in the course of which it was stated by a witness named Hudson "that no person was in attendance at the pit bank during the night shift;" also that he had complained of the absence of the engineman; and that on one occasion, after repeatedly ringing the bell calling the engineman, he had to wait between two and three hours before he could get out of the pit; whether, under these circumstances, there has been a breach of the Coal Mines Regulation Act of 1887; and if so, what course he proposes to take in relation to the same?
§ *MR. MATTHEWS
The whole circumstances were before the magistrates. The proceeding was by the owners for damages against a miner for having absented himself from work without notice. The defence was that he was justified in doing so because the owners did not observe the Act, inasmuch as there was no engine man in attendance. It appeared that the engine man was at home; but his house was in communication with the pit bottom by signal. The Magistrates apparently held that the Act had been observed, and found for the plaintiffs. I think the matter should be investigated afresh, and in a more direct manner, and I have instructed the Inspector to institute a prosecution with a view to test the question.