§ COLONEL HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Homo Department whether his attention has been called to the aggravated assault committed, on 13th February, on Mr. John Shilan, a miner at Ludhoe Colliery, county Durham, and attributed to those whose actions he had just previously 1654 denounced at a political meeting; and if he will take care that adequate arrangements are made to prevent the public expression of political views being attended by physical reprisals?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. H. H. ASQUITH, Fife, E.)
I have received a report on this matter, which is to the effect that Mr. Shilan complained to the police on the 13th of February—which was a moonlight night—of having been assaulted by two men, but that he was unable to give any description of his assailants. The police made full and immediate inquiry, but were unable to find any further evidence of the occurrence. Two policemen, who were in the neighbourhood at the time the assault is alleged to have been committed, heard nothing of it. I may add that, since the hon. and gallant Gentleman's question was put down, Shilan has stated to the police that the assault was not committed by any of those who attended the meeting; and the case does not appear to me to afford ground for supposing that the police arrangements of the neighbourhood are inadequate.
§ MR. CHARLES FENWICK (Northumberland, Wansbeck)
asked whether this man had not previously addressed political meetings in that place; whether it was not the fact that on the date referred to in the question he was in a state of intoxication, and whether the injuries alleged to be sustained were not occasioned by a fall on the ice as he was returning home.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said, he did not know the exact form of these injuries, as there was some obscurity about the matter.