§ CAPTAIN PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to the case of Frederick Powdrell, master of the trawler pansy, who was convicted on the 15th ult. by the Sheriff-Substitute at Forfar of trawling within the three-mile limit, and sentenced to pay a fine of £100, the alternative being 60 days' imprisonment: whether it is a fact that Powdrell, being unable to pay the fine, applied to the owner of the vessel and was refused assistance; what were the reasons which led the Procurator Fiscal of Forfar to refuse the request made to him that he should take action in the matter, under Section 10, Sub-section (6), of The Sea Fisheries Regulation Act, 1895, which expressly meets such a case as this by providing that, "failing payment by a certain date of the fine imposed, decree therefor may be pronounced against the owner of the offending vessel," the master of the vessel being thus relieved; and whether steps will be taken to secure that in this and in future similar cases the above sub-section will be enforced as likely to be a stronger deterrent to breaking the law?
§ *THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. GRAHAM MURRAY,) Buteshire
I have inquired into the facts of this case, which are stated with substantial correctness in the first two paragraphs. I am of opinion that Section 10 Sub-section (6) of The Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1895, quoted in the third paragraph of the question, does not apply to a conviction such as the present, which was obtained under the Fisheries Act of 1889. The point has not been decided by the Court, and my opinion upon the matter is therefore not conclusive. I feel bound however to add that, assuming the prosecutor had had the discretion, which I think he had not, inasmuch as this was a very clear and persistent violation of the three-mile limit, and that Powdrell had been twice previously convicted of illegal trawling 658 and twice of other breaches of the Fishery Laws, it was not a case where, with due regard to the interests of line fishermen, any relief ought to have been granted.