§ MR. PICKARD (York, W.R., Normanton)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will lay upon the Table of the House a verbatim copy of the shorthand notes taken at the Mossfields Colliery Explosion Inquiry held before A. Flint, esquire, on 22nd February and following-days, upon the bodies of 59 men and boys; whether, notwithstanding the expressed opinion of Mr. Harold Thomas, barrister at law, as stated in his Report to the Home Office, he will order a prosecution of the late manager of the colliery, seeing that Section 21 was violated and General Rule 7 disregarded and censured by the coroner, and especially Laving regard to the great loss of life consequent upon such violation and disregard of the Mines Act of 1887; and whether, taking all interests into consideration, he will order a special inquiry into the cause, or causes, of this explosion, as provided in Section 45 of "The Mines Act, 1887?"
§ *THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. STUART WORTLEY,) Sheffield, Hallam
In view of the specially interesting nature of the questions raised in this case, the Secretary of State is willing to make an exception here, and to present to Parliament a print of the evidence taken at the inquest. The three months mentioned in Section 62 of the Coal Mines Act, 1887, having expired on January 16, no prosecution for offences against that Act can now be instituted. The Secretary of State has doubts whether any other criminal proceeding could be instituted with reasonable prospect of success; but he will refer the evidence, when printed, to the Director of Public Prosecutions for his examination and Report whether any such proceedings should be taken. The Secretary of State is taking steps to carry out Mr. Thomas's recommendation as to the alteration of one of the Special Rules. He does not propose, having regard to the great care that was given to the inquiry before the coroner, to order a fresh inquiry under Section 45.