§ MR. PARKES (Birmingham, Central)
On behalf of the hon. Member for the Edgbaston Division of Birmingham, I beg to ask the Lord Advocate if he can give the reasons why in the case of Samuel Wolffe, late of 152, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow (whose estate was sequestrated in 1899), the Procurator Fiscal, after having ordered a prosecution in respect of offences under the Debtors (Scotland) Act, 1880, and issued a warrant for the arrest of the debtor, caused the withdrawal of such warrant and the abandonment of the proceedings without communicating with the general body of creditors, and on what grounds he refuses to comply with the wishes of certain creditors who, on learning of the abandonment of the prosecution, communicated to him their desire that the same might be proceeded with.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. SCOTT DICKSON, Glasgow, Bridgeton)
The charge against the bankrupt was originally preferred by the trustee in the sequestration who represents the general body of creditors, and a warrant was issued for apprehension. Subsequently, and after further inquiries, the trustee communicated to Crown counsel the desire of himself and the principal creditors, as expressed both by letter and by a motion to that effect carried at a meeting of creditors, that the charge should be withdrawn. A pre-cognition was taken and Crown counsel came to be of opinion that there was not sufficient evidence to make a conviction at all probable. In these circumstances Crown counsel in November. 1900, 603 ordered the abandonment of the prosecution. That decision was communicated to the accused, and it would not be in accordance with practice now to reinstitute criminal proceedings.