HC Deb 26 February 1891 vol 350 cc1686-7
MR. COBB (Warwick, S.E., Rugby)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether under "The Coroners' Act, 1887," upon being informed of such a death as that of the late Duke of Bedford, the Coroner's public duty was, as soon as practicable, to issue his warrant summoning a jury; whether, under the 19th section of this Act, a juror is liable to a fine of £5 for non-attendance, and if it is a general custom of London Coroners to issue their warrants so as to enable the summonses to be served upon the jurors as a rule the day before the inquest, and in all cases to give them ample notice; and whether he will ascertain from the Coroner and state the day and hour when and by whom the Coroner was informed of the death, the day, and hour of his issuing his warrant summoning a jury, and of the service of the summonses upon the jurors, and the number of summonses issued, and the name or names by which the deceased was described in such warrant and in such summonses, and by whom such name or names were furnished to him?


I am informed by the Coroner that he is not aware that the general custom of the London Coroners is as stated. It is not the custom in his district. The death was reported to the Coroner between 10 and 11 p.m. on the 14th of January. The warrant to summon a jury was issued by him the next day as soon as he came to his office, between 11 and 12. The service of the summons on the jurors was during the same afternoon. The Coroner's officer made out 13 or 14 summonses, according to the usual practice. The case was reported by the doctors to the Coroner by the name of Francis Charles Hastings Russell, and by the title or occupation "Duke of Bedford." He gave the name and title to the officer next day. The form of warrant is signed by the Coroner, and filled up by the officer. The officer filled up the summonses in the name of Russell, giving the initial "F." The Coroner gave no directions to the officer as to the manner of filling up the warrant or the summonses, which was done in the usual way. The title and description of the deceased person has never been given in the warrant so far as the experience of the Coroner goes.


Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that in the warrant the deceased was described by the name of Russell?


I so understand, from the Coroner's letter.