§ 79. Mr. SWIFT MacNEILL
asked the Attorney-General what is the date of the appointment of the Royal Commission over which Lord Mersey presides for the purpose of inquiring into the jury system and its working and presenting a Report thereon; what are the dates of the first and the last sittings, respectively, of this Commission and how many times has the Commission sat; and whether, having regard to the importance of the subject, any information can be given of the progress in its work of the Commission, the probable date of the presentation of its Report, and, if there has been delay in its proceedings, the causes of such delay?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. McKenna)
My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question. The inquiry into the jury system over which Lord Mersey presides is being made by a Departmental Committee and not a Royal Commission. It was appointed by me on the 6th December, 1911, and held its first meeting on the 22nd of that month. I am informed that nine subsequent meetings were held for the purpose of taking evidence, and that the Committee adjourned temporarily on the 29th February, 1912. During the next few months Lord Mersey was acting as Wreck Commissioner at the investigation into the disaster to the "Titanic"; and as this investigation necessarily claimed his whole time, and was not concluded until the 30th July last, the proceedings of the Committee had to be suspended. Sittings were resumed on the 15th October, and between that date and the 6th November five meetings were held. I understand that a draft Report is now receiving the Committee's consideration, and that they hope to present their final Report very shortly. There has been no delay in the proceedings other than that unavoidably occasioned by the chairman's engagement with the "Titanic" Inquiry.