§ SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)
I wish to ask the Attorney-General a Question of which I have given him private notice. It is with reference to a circular sent by the Exchange Telegraph Company to its subscribers yesterday, to the effect that a rumour was widely prevalent in London that the King had been assassinated in Paris. I wish to ask whether the circulation of intelligence of an alarming character on a public matter, confessedly without verification, is not amenable to the criminal law.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I am sure that everyone will join with my hon. friend in deprecating the circulation of such a rumour, even with the reserve which appears to have accompanied it in the present case. There is no doubt that, under certain circumstances, criminal liability may attach to the circulation of false news, but whether such proceedings can properly be instituted in any particular case must depend upon the full knowledge of all the circumstances.