HC Deb 13 March 1891 vol 351 cc914-5
MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to the fact that on the 26th January, at the trial of Robert Smith, Secretary of the Leith Branch of the Amalgamated Seamen's and Firemen's Union, in the Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Mr. D. Blackman, delegate of the Edinburgh Trades Council, appointed to watch the proceedings, and Mr. E. Robson, also a member of the Trades Council, were refused admission to the Court during the proceedings; whether he is aware that the policeman informed these two gentlemen that his orders were to keep every one out, although at the time of the application there was considerable vacant room in the Court; whether the Judge issued such orders for the exclusion of the public; and under what authority such orders for the exclusion of the public from a public trial were given?


I am informed that the two gentlemen named in the question applied for admission before the jury was balloted for, and were refused on account of the Court being then fall. After the ballot, a number of those jurymen who were not required to act, and some other persons, left the Court, and had these two gentlemen presented themselves then at the public entrance they would have been admitted as a matter of course. So far as is known, no one was refused admission except when the Court happened to be full. No orders were issued by the Judge, or any one in authority, for the exclusion of the public; and the officials merely carried out a standing order of the Court, that no greater number of persons be admitted than there is sitting accommodation for. The trial in question excited considerable interest, and the Court was very full during most of the time it lasted.

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