HC Deb 20 May 1890 vol 344 cc1393-4
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether it is true that the Magistrates of Glasgow have been required to make arrangements for carrying into effect the death sentence passed on John Finlay, for a murder committed in Kirkintilloch, entirely outside of their jurisdiction; and whether, taking into consideration the extremely repulsive nature of such a duty, and the fact that it has only recently been imposed on the Magistrates of the larger towns in Scotland in the case of crimes committed outside of their jurisdiction, through the closing of a number of county prisons, the Government will consider the propriety of altering the present rule, either by re-imposing the responsibility for carrying out capital sentences on the Magistrates in whose jurisdiction the crimes have been committed, or by imposing the duty of arranging for all executions upon some Government officer?


It is unnecessary for me to answer the first part of the question, as the sentence passed on Finlay has been commuted to penal servitude. As regards the second part of the question, it is impossible in all cases to provide that the Magistrates in whose jurisdiction crimes have been committed should make arrangements for an execution; and where there is no prison within a district in which a murder has been committed, the responsibility in respect of prisoners under sentence of death must rest with the Magistrates in whose jurisdiction the prison is in where the convict is confined. It is not proposed to alter the prison rule.


As the responsibility is felt to be a great hardship I beg to give notice that I will take an early opportunity of calling attention to the subject.