HC Deb 30 June 1891 vol 354 cc1858-9
MR. BURT (Morpeth)

I wish to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to a letter in the Newcastle Leader, of the 23rd instant, in which the officials of the Miners' Union of Walker Colliery complain of the conduct of Mr. Hoyle, Coroner, in connection with an inquest held concerning the death of a miner who was killed while following his employment at the colliery named; whether he is aware that representatives of the workmen, duly appointed according to the Mines Regulation Act, were refused admission into the room in which the inquiry took place, were kept waiting outside while the first witness and the plans of the workings were examined, and only one of the three persons deputed by the workmen was allowed to enter the room; that afterwards another was admitted, but still one of them, namely, Mr. Young, Secretary of the Northumberland Miners' Association, was excluded during the whole time; and whether, if the facts be correctly stated, the Coroner acted in accordance with the 48th section of the Mines Regulation Act, which empowers the workmen to be represented at inquests of the kind?


I have seen a letter in the Newcastle Daily Leader complaining of the conduct of the Coroner. I have obtained a Report from the Coroner, who informs me that the representatives of the workmen arrived late during the examination of an important witness, to which the Coroner wished to give special attention, and he was not at first informed that the persons who claimed admittance were duly authorised representatives of the men. When that fact was brought to his knowledge he admitted the two representatives of the men. He docs not remember having been asked to admit a third person. Had he been asked, he would have considered what number of persons he could have allowed to take part at the inquest, having regard to the language of the Act. This third person does not appear to have been an authorised representative of the men, and I do not collect that he had any title to demand admittance. On the facts as reported to me, I infer that the Coroner had no intention to disregard the law, or to deprive the workmen of their right to be represented.