HC Deb 15 July 1898 vol 61 cc1231-2
MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)

I beg to ask the Attorney General whether in criminal prosecutions, when no evidence is called on behalf of the accused, the law officers of the Crown may and do exercise a privilege not enjoyed by other counsel, however eminent, of addressing the jury after the accused or his counsel has spoken in defence; and whether he will consent that either the law officers shall forego the exercise of this privilege, or, if it is in the interest of justice that the prosecution should speak last, that the right should be made general?


In criminal prosecutions conducted by a law officer he has the right of reply, whether evidence for the defence is called or not, in any case in which in his opinion it is in the interests of justice he should exercise this right. In my opinion, such a duty should only be discharged on the responsibility of a law officer, and should not be extended to prosecutions not so conducted.