HC Deb 06 April 1909 vol 3 cc917-8

asked Mr. Attorney-General whether his attention has been called to the remarks made by the Recorder of London in summing up to the jury the recent case of Rex v. Stoddart and another; whether he is aware that this case occupied the attention of the Central Criminal Court for 23 days; and whether, having regard to these circumstances, he will consider whether any steps can be taken to somewhat curtail the extreme length of certain Treasury prosecutions?

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir William Robson)

It was not a Treasury prosecution in the wide sense in which that term is sometimes used. It was conducted by the City Solicitor. As Attorney-General I have no direct knowledge, but on inquiry I find that of the 23 days which the question states the case occupied only eight days were devoted to the case for the prosecution, so that one-third of the whole time, including the time given to cross-examination, was occupied by the prosecution. I may say the length of time occupied sometimes by prosecutions is owing to the extreme particularity re- quired by our law in such cases. I am not disposed to shorten the proceedings by-relaxing or diminishing that severity of proof in cases in which liberty and character are at stake.