§ MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that Mr. Gunn, solicitor, Dingwall, who is J.P. Fiscal for Ross and Cromarty, appears as agent for applicants for licences before the Justice of the Peace and Confirming Courts; and that, on the 17th of April last, he appeared as agent before the ordinary Justice of the Peace Court for the granting of certificates on behalf of an applicant for a licence, and at this Court read a letter from the Chief Constable of Ross and Cromarty, asking him to appear in his official capacity and object to the granting of the certificate applied for, on the grounds that there had been no licence at the place referred to for some years past, and the consequence was that there had been little or no crime, and this could not be said of it while the licence was in existence; whether this method of conducting public business has the sanction of the Lord Advocate and the Secretary for Scotland; and, if not, will steps be taken to prohibit it in future?
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. B. BALFOUR, Clackmannan, &c.)
I am informed that it is the fact that Mr. Gunn, who is Justice of the Peace Fiscal for the mainland of Ross and Cromarty, appeared recently in the County Licensing and Confirming Courts as agent for an applicant for an hotel licence, and that at the Licensing Court held at Dingwall on the 17th of April a letter from the Chief Constable, in the terms indicated, was read by him. Mr. Gunn states that he does not recognise the right of the Chief Constable to instruct or order him to appear in Court to oppose the granting of licences, and neither the Justices of the Peace nor the County Council have offered any objection to his appearing for clients at these Courts. The Justice of the Peace Fiscal is not a Crown official, and I am not aware of the terms of Mr. Gunn's Commission, but it would seem better that he should not appear as agent in such cases as are referred to.