§ Mr. GINNELL
asked the Attorney-General whether the Director of Public Prosecutions had power, apart from an action, to investigate the practices and documents of insurance companies and societies to which his attention was directed; whether a company or society would be brought within his jurisdiction by the practice of getting agents to cease calling for premiums in order that the insurances might lapse and the money paid become forfeited to the company or society, or by the practice of getting newly insured persons in a concern about to fail to join another company under the same management, and affording no such option to insured persons whose claims approached maturity, but leaving them to lose all in the failure; and, the persons so treated being all poor, what action he proposed to take with reference to the directors of the London and Provincial Assurance Company who, as directors of the Irish Provident Assurance Company, treated persons insured with them in this manner?
§ Mr. GINNELL
also asked the Attorney-General if the Director of Public Prosecutions had a staff competent and entitled to 2363 prevent bogus banks and insurance companies trading on the credulity of the poor; would he explain why so many of those institutions were allowed such a measure of success; why, for example, was one group of persons allowed to collect from poor people and appropriate to themselves £17,000, as reported by the Board of Trade; and whether the Director of Public Prosecutions was entitled to test the condition of suspected institutions, without detriment to any found solvent, by checking their real as distinguished from their paper assets and liabilities?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)
The powers of investigation of the Director of Public Prosecutions are confined to cases disclosing the commission of a criminal offence. Unless the evidence available were sufficient to support the prosecution for a criminal offence he would be powerless to take any action. The Director of Public Prosecutions does in fact both consider and investigate every statement laid before him which alleges the commission of a criminal offence. If the hon. Member will lay a statement in writing before the Director of Public Prosecutions which alleges or discloses primâ facie evidence of the commission by any named person or persons of any crimina1 offence in England or in Wales, I will undertake that it shall receive both the consideration of and investigation by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
§ Mr. GINNELL
If a bank makes an advance to one of its own officials to run an insurance society, there being no other money but the premiums received, the advance therefore being speculative and without security, would that act entitle the Director of Public Prosecutions to intervene?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The facts stated by the hon. Member would not be sufficient in themselves to warrant the intervention of the Director of Public Prosecutions.