HC Deb 30 April 1891 vol 352 cc1752-3
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been sailed to a correspondence between the Secretary of the " Anti-Gambling League (Scotland) " and the Crown Office on the subject of public lotteries for church and other purposes; whether it is true, as therein stated, that four cases had been reported by the Police Authorities and Procurators Fiscal without any proceedings being instituted; whether it is the fact, as stated in the Crown Agent's letter of the 14th instant, that, in the case of the Falkirk Parish Church Bazaar— The subscription sale complained of had not been authorised by the Bazaar Committee, and was stopped as soon as it came to their knowledge, or that, as stated in the British Weekly of 26th March, the subscription sale and raffle complained of actually took place at the bazaar; whether the Act Geo. IV., c. 60, cited by the Society, renders such lotteries illegal in Scotland; and whether the "warning " referred to in the Crown Agent's letter of 14th March as having been given in a Glasgow case, and as " having had the desired effect of closing the shop," was given with the sanction of the Crown Officials and based on the assumption that lotteries are illegal; and, if so, why the Crown Authorities decline to enforce the law in the other cases reported by the Anti-Gambling Society?


I have been acquainted with this correspondence throughout its course. In answer to Paragraphs 2 and 5 of the question, four cases of shops in Glasgow used for " Enterprise Sales " were reported to the Crown Office. It is not the case that the Crown Authorities have declined to enforce the law in these instances. The occupiers were informed that their business was illegal under the Statute, and were warned to desist. One of them thereupon closed his premises. The others, having declined to do so, the papers have been sent to the Procurator Fiscal of the Justice of Peace Court. That officer is not under the control of my Department, and it will be for him to make arrangements for the costs of the prosecution. The only alternative under the Statute is the somewhat costly one of raising an action in the Supreme Court. As to Paragraphs 3 and 4, the Act of 4 Geo. IV. renders renders certain lotteries illegal; but the Public Prosecutor has always exercised a discretion as to the classes of lotteries which are fit subjects for prosecution, and I do not intend to depart from this practice. In the case of the Falkirk Church Bazaar, the complaint made was understood to refer to the exposure of . an article for subscription sale in a shop window in Glasgow, in connection with that bazaar; and I am assured that it was stopped as soon as it came to the knowledge of the Committee.