HC Deb 07 May 1903 vol 122 cc26-7
MR. O'DOHERTY (Donegal, N.)

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he is aware that the collector of Customs at Londonderry, in the month of July, 1902, fined a passenger by the ss. "Columbia" from New York for alleged smuggling of cigars; and that, the passenger having brought the facts before Sir George Ryder, the latter ordered a refund of the fine; and, if so, will he state what steps will be taken to prevent a recurrence of such conduct to tourists arriving at Londonderry.


I am informed that the passenger referred to, having been found in possession of cigars which he had not declared to the Customs officers, elected to deposit the regulated fine to avoid the institution of summary proceedings against him before the Magistrates. Upon the matter being reported to the Board of Customs in the usual way they directed the fine to be brought to account and the cigars to be retained by the Department as a seizure. Subsequently, on an appeal by the passenger, the Board, as an act of grace, and whilst entirely approving of the action of the collector, allowed a portion of the fine to be returned to the passenger. The remainder of the deposit and the cigars seized were, however, retained by the Customs to mark the breach of the law which had been committed. I do not consider any steps are called for, as passengers can always escape trouble of the kind by candidly answering the questions put to them by officers of Customs as to dutiable articles brought by them from abroad.