HC Deb 21 March 1912 vol 35 c2073

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether his attention has been called to a prosecution for trawling off the Caithness Wash on 31st January last, which was disposed of by Sheriff Trotter at Wick on 29th February; whether he is aware that the commander of the fishery cruiser "Ringdove," which captured the trawler, admitted in evidence that one of the bearings taken by him was wrong, that the bearings had not been cheeked by anyone at the time when they were taken, and that no bearings had been taken by anyone else on the "Ringdove," the navigation officer not being on board; and whether, looking to the fact that the prosecution failed in consequence of the inadequate and faulty character of the evidence referred to, he will give instructions that in future bearings should be more carefully taken on board fishery cruisers, and also that corroborative evidence of their accuracy should be available for any prosecution which may ensue?


I am aware of the prosecution in question, but cannot, without more information than is available, accept my hon. Friend's description of the evidence given or the conclusions he draws from it. I may add that the "Ringdove" is not a fishery cruiser, but an Admiralty gunboat, assigned for the protection of the Scottish fisheries. There is no ground for the suggestion that the commander of that vessel or the officers commanding the Board's fishery cruisers are negligent in taking bearings or fail to secure corroborative evidence as to their accuracy.