HC Deb 10 December 1912 vol 45 cc243-4

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether some further investigations can be made into the propriety of the conviction of Oscar Slater at Edinburgh in 1909, when he was sentenced to death for murder, and is now serving a commuted sentence of penal servitude for life; whether he is aware that the verdict was a majority verdict of three in a jury of fifteen; whether he is aware of the nature of the evidence of identification against the prisoner; that certain witnesses as to his identity, whose precognitions had been taken by the Crown, were not called at the trial; and, seeing that the speech of the counsel for the prosecution contained inaccurate statements of fact, and in view of the uneasiness as to the justice of the verdict which has been expressed both in Scotland and England, will he state what steps he proposes to take?


Recent expressions of opinion of a varied character which have appeared in the public Press and elsewhere have been brought to my notice. The case was considered with the greatest care, both at the time of the conviction and again recently. No new considerations have, in my opinion, emerged such as would justify me in reopening the case. I do not consider it to be my duty to enter into a public discussion of the case in reply to the hon. and learned Gentleman's question.