HC Deb 13 March 1896 vol 38 c882
MR. J. H. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to the arrest at Old Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, on 2nd March 1896, of a disabled miner, named Robert Anderson, who was endeavouring to dispose of some subscription sale tickets to enable him to set up in business; whether he is aware that Anderson was kept in the police cells at Cumnock for 36 hours, and was afterwards removed to Ayr Prison, and detained there from Wednesday 4th March till Saturday 7th March, and then liberated, no charge being formulated against him; and, what action he proposes to take in the matter, especially with a view to compensate Anderson for false imprisonment?


I have inquired into this matter. It is not the case that no charge was formulated against Anderson. He was detained in ordinary course on reasonable suspicion of fraud, and he was charged with that offence as soon as the particulars were ascertained by inquiry. It was found he had been going through the country selling numbered tickets as for a subscription sale, the tickets specifying 12 prizes, which were to go to the winning numbers. The prizes did not exist, but he stated to the Sheriff he intended to purchase them with the money he collected, adding, however, that he had used that money for his own living and travelling. The case was rather a sad one in some respects, and the Public Prosecutor, acting, as I think, very leniently, did not press the charge. The action of the officials has my entire approval; and it will be obvious from what I have said that the reference to false imprisonment is misplaced.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is the case that, although no charge was made against this man, he was detained for three days in prison?


He was detained two days in the place where he was arrested in order that preliminary inquiries might be made as to what he was to be charged with. When taken to Ayr he was charged with fraud, and detained until, as the result of further inquiries, the police ordered his release.