HC Deb 04 January 1894 vol 20 cc825-6

I beg to ask the Solicitor General whether his attention has been called to the case of Richard Varcoe, who at the West Powder Petty Sessions was, on the 25th November last, sentenced by Messrs. Polwhele, Carus-Wilson, George J. Smith, and Hitchins on a charge brought under "The Poaching Prevention Act. 1862," to a fine and to forfeiture of his gun licence as well as his gun; whether he is aware that the only evidence against Varcoe was that of the prosecuting police constable, who stated that he saw Varcoe coming, and, having heard a gun fired just previously, he asked him whether he had a licence; that Varcoe, who subsequently turned out his pockets in the presence of the constable and several other witnesses, had no game whatever in his possession, and that his gun was loaded in both barrels; whether the conviction can be legally sustained under Section 2 of the Statute, which requires the prosecution to prove either that the defendant had obtained game, and obtained it by unlawfully going on land in search or pursuit of it, or that he has, as a fact, used the gun for unlawfully killing the game; and whether, inasmuch as there was no evidence to prove either that Varcoe had game in his possession or that he had used his gun for unlawfully killing game, he will consider the possibility of enabling Varcoe to have his case re-heard?


On the subject of this question I have no means of obtaining information except by application to the Home Office. I understand my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will give an answer as to the facts of this case on a later day.


As this is a legal point arising under the Statute, cannot the hon. and learned Gentleman give an answer after his right hon. Colleague has answered as to the facts? I will repeat the question on Monday.


I cannot undertake to give such an answer. I understand it is not regular to ask for legal opinions.


I am not asking for a legal opinion. I want to know whether the conviction can be legally sustained?