§ SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that the depositions of witnesses before Metropolitan Magistrates are still taken down in longhand, entailing great labour on the clerk and great waste of time for all having business at police, courts; and if he will confer with Sir John Bridge and his colleagues as to the possibility of adopting shorthand, as in the case of witnesses before many of the superior courts, and Royal Commissions and Select Committees?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY, Lancashire, Blackpool)
I have conferred with the Chief Magistrate as to the desirability of depositions being taken down in shorthand instead of longhand as at present, but find that the practical difficulties are too great to allow my hon. Friend's suggestion to be adopted. Sir John Bridge tells me that to take a deposition properly implies much more than the mere taking down of the words spoken by the witness; it requires, for example, that the clerk should be able to put on the deposition only that which is material, to weigh it before he writes, 1331 and to see that the witness clearly understands the questions put to him and gives the answers which he really wishes to be put down.