HC Deb 03 March 1891 vol 351 cc32-3
MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the report of a case heard at the Gosport Petty Sessions on November 4th last, in which a charge against George Phillip Thornton, for selling beer to an intoxicated person on the 29th of October was dismissed, from which it appears that a police constable called Payne deposed to having watched two drunken soldiers enter the house: that he and another constable called Gill afterwards watched these drunken persons through a glass door being served with beer; and that the Bench, presided over by the hon. Member for South Sussex (Admiral Field), stated that the police had done their duty, and that Payne was justified in his action; and whether the police acted in accordance with their instructions and usual practice in this case?


I have received a Report from the Magistrates, from which I gather that the facts are as stated, and that, in dismissing the charge, the Chairman observed generally that the police had only done their duty in seeking to bring home the offence to the landlord if they believed the soldiers to be drunk at the time. The Chief Constable informs me that the usual practice is for the police when they see a person whom they consider the worse for liquor enter a licensed house to enter them selves and caution the landlord.


How does the right hon. Gentleman reconcile that statement with the instructions issued to the police, those instructions being rather to prevent the breaking of the law than to allow it to be broken?

ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)

As I presided on the occasion to which the hon. Member alludes, if he will refer to me I will give him full information upon the point.


I think it is desirable that we should have further information, and therefore I will ask the hon. and gallant Admiral how he can reconcile——


Order, order!