HC Deb 07 May 1891 vol 353 cc259-60
SIR J. PEASE (Durham, Barnard Castle)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there is any truth in the statement which has appeared in the newspapers that an officer of Dartmoor Convict Prison attempted to impose obstacles in the way of the attendance of the representatives of the Press at an inquest recently held upon the body of a deceased convict, and that the Coroner was in consequence obliged to hold the inquest at an hotel instead of inside the Convict Prison at Dartmoor; and, if this statement is correct, whether the officer in question followed the rule laid down in the usual practice in the case of inquests on convicts at Dartmoor?


I am in formed by the Directors of Convict Prisons that the statement referred to is substantially correct. The officer in question followed the usual practice at Dartmoor, which has been that the Governor and the Coroner usually agreed what persons should be admitted inside the prison during the holding of the inquest; but that if the Coroner wished the public to be admitted he adjourned his Court after the view of the body to some convenient place outside the prison, so as to avoid the obvious inconvenience of throwing open the prison to the public, and to persons not entitled to admittance.