HC Deb 18 August 1893 vol 16 cc514-5
MR. BYLES (York, W.R., Shipley)

I beg to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board whether the Registrar General has taken any steps in reference to the case of Dr. Atkinson, of Crewe, whose conduct in giving a certificate of death for a child whom he had not attended when ill led to the exhumation of the body and an inquest; whether he will read to the House any communication which the Registrar General has sent to Dr. Atkinson; and what opinion the Registrar General has expressed in reference to the action of the Coroner, Mr. Churton?


The Registrar General on the 15th instant addressed a letter to Mr. Atkinson stating that by giving the certificate as to the cause of death of Edith Prestwich he contravened the provisions of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1874, and that the Registrar General had had seriously to consider whether he ought not to direct that he should be prosecuted for wilfully making a false certificate for the purposes of that Act. After a very careful consideration of all the facts, however, he had decided that it was necessary to take the extreme course of directing a prosecution, but he felt it to be his duty, seriously, to warn him to be very careful in future not to give a certificate of the cause of death in a case in which he had not attended the deceased, as he would be compelled to take proceedings against him if it were again brought under his notice that he had committed an offence under the Act referred to. As Mr. Churton, the Coroner, is not in any way subject to the jurisdiction of the Registrar General, I cannot make any statement as to any opinion entertained by the Registrar General with respect to Mr. Churton's action.