HC Deb 01 August 1912 vol 41 cc2247-8
66. Mr. HOGGE

asked the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been drawn to the prosecution of Mr. John M'Ara, in Edinburgh, on 26th May, for speaking in the open air at The Round, Princes Street, Edinburgh; whether he will state the law under which the prosecution took place; whether he will state the last occasion on which a prosecution took place under the same law; and whether such prosecutions have his approval?


My attention has been drawn to the case referred to. The prosecution was laid at Common Law. The accused was convicted of holding a meeting without having obtained a licence from the magistrates in contravention of the Proclamation issued by the magistrates on 19th July, 1912. A similar prosecution took place in 1882. This prosecution took place in the Burgh Court at the instance of the Burgh Procurator Fiscal. I see no ground on which I could express disapproval of the proceedings.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this particular locality in Edinburgh has been used for this purpose for centuries and not hitherto been interfered with? Does he approve of this action of the police authorities in Edinburgh in suppressing free speech in this particular part of the city?


I have no right to express cither approval or disapproval. I believe the police grant licences to those who apply for this particular purpose.