§ Sir JOHN JARDINE
asked the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been drawn to the case of William Norris, a boy of 14 years of age, who was, on the 2nd instant, sentenced by Sheriff-Substitute Baillie at Jedburgh to be birched for taking trout from Bowmont Water; whether the prosecution was a private one or was initiated by any official acting under the Tweed fishery laws; whether any sentences of birching have up to the present time been passed as regards offences against the Tweed fishery laws; and if The Probation of Offenders Act, 1907, is applicable to such cases?
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL for SCOTLAND (Mr. A. Dewar)
Inquiry has been made, and it appears that the prosecution was not a private one or under the Tweed Acts, but was at the instance of the Procurator Fiscal for contravention of the Trout and Freshwater Fish Acts by taking 42 trout by means of wire snares. Two boys were prosecuted, both of whom pled guilty. Norris, being under 14 years of age, was sentenced to four strokes of the birch. The Probation Act is applicable, but I am informed that the boy had been previously twice convicted of malicious mischief, and had been repeatedly cautioned by the police.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
Does not the hon. and learned Gentleman think that it is an atrocious punishment for a boy?
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
Will my hon. Friend take steps to see that the penalty of birching shall not be inflicted on small boys for catching trout?
§ Sir J. JARDINE
Was the boy assisted by any Probation officer at the trial, in the same way as is done in the Probation Count of Glasgow?