HC Deb 27 March 1899 vol 69 cc488-9

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to the unanimous acquittal by a jury of Dr. Lamont, formerly public vaccinator in the Island of Uist, tried at Inverness on the 15th instant for issuing false certificates of vaccination, when it was proved that his district was over 35 miles long and from five to 10 miles broad, and intersected by numerous branches of the sea, and that many of the houses were five miles off any public road and could only be reached by fording; whether he is aware that Dr. Lamont's alleged crime consisted in not having returned to inspect, at the end of a week, the infants vaccinated before issuing a certificate of successful vaccination, and the fee for the double journey and operation is 2s. 6d.; is he aware that this charge was kept hanging over Dr. Lamont's head for six months, thereby preventing him from accepting a Government appointment in India; and that he was finally arrested on a warrant issued by Dr. M'Kenzie, an honorary sheriff, who was one of the witnesses against him in the case, kept in a police-cell in Glasgow from Saturday till Monday, conveyed to Uist in charge of a policeman, and obliged to find bail for £100 before being liberated; and if he would state at whose instance these proceedings were taken, and whether they were taken under the provisions of a statute or of rules issued by the Local Government Board; and, if under the latter, whether, until within the last few days, no means had been taken, either by the local authorities or the Local Government Board, to acquaint them with the existence of such rules?


The answer to the first paragraph of the Question is in the affirmative. The answer to the second paragraph is that Dr. Lamont was charged with fabricating and uttering false certificates. In answer to the third paragraph, I have no knowledge of a Government appointment having been offered to Dr. Lamont, but that in any case such a circumstance could not have affected procedure. My information is that Dr. Lamont was warned not to leave Long Island, as proceedings were pending which might necessitate his attendance for declaration and committal. He did leave Long Island, and left no means of acquiring his address. The result was that a warrant of apprehension was applied for by the Procurator Fiscal, and obtained from the Resident Honorary Sheriff Substitute in common form. The warrant was put in the hands of the police in Glasgow, and was executed by them. I regret that Dr. Lamont should have been subjected to the indignity and inconvenience of an apprehension, but I think the action of the Procurator Fiscal was justifiable under the circumstances I have above stated. The answer to the fourth paragraph is that the proceedings were not under a statute or in respect of rules of the Local Government Board; but were at common law, upon an information laid by the parish council, and precognitions taken by the Procurator Fiscal in ordinary course.


I shall call attention to this matter on the Estimates.