HC Deb 08 November 1911 vol 30 cc1653-4

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he was aware that on Sunday, 29th October, two gentlemen named Duncan M'Dougal and Gilbert Cannan were arrested at the corner of Hilldrop Crescent and Hilldrop Road, and were brought before the magistrate at North London Police Court on the following day; that the magistrate on learning their identity and hearing their evidence dismissed them, saying that there was nothing against them; and that Mr. Gilbert Cannan, a well-known man of letters, stated he had been informed by a ticket-of-leave man that a detective had offered him a sovereign to find two men of blemished character to be arrested and charged with being in possession of housebreaking implements, and that he and his friend had resolved to test the man's story by playing the part of the two men; and whether his Department had taken any steps to investigate this incident?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. It is a fact that the magistrate dismissed the case, being satisfied that these two gentlemen, though they were wasting the time of the police, were not loitering with felonious intent. Mr. Cannan alleges that he was informed by a ticket-of-leave man as stated in the question. This ticket-of-leave man is well known to the authorities as one who throughout his career has brought forward concocted charges against various officials with whom he has been in contact; and he has admitted that on this occasion he approached the police ostensibly to give information, but really with a view to trapping them. The whole matter is being carefully inquired into.