HC Deb 05 April 1898 vol 56 cc198-9
MR. D. N. NICOL (Argyll)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to the case of Archibald Johnston, who on Friday, 18th March, having pleaded guilty, was sentenced for breach of the peace by the sheriff-substitute at Inverary to 21 days' imprisonment without option of a fine; whether he is aware that the sheriff acted in giving this sentence on a statement made by the procurator-fiscal that the accused had used threatening language to the complainer, and whether in the circumstances the procurator-fiscal was entitled to make this statement, or the sheriff to give weight to it; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?


The case mentioned by my hon. Friend has been brought under my notice, and under that of the Secretary for Scotland, and has been fully inquired into. The procedure objected to was that the procurator-fiscal stated that the accused had used threatening and foul language to a magistrate in respect of some past judicial proceedings; that the use of such language did not form part of the charge, and should not have been brought to the sheriff's notice, who was influenced thereby. I am satisfied that the procedure was correct, and that the sheriff was entitled to consider the man's whole behaviour. I do not, therefore, propose to take any action.