§ 13. Mr. FETHERSTONHAUGH
asked whether the Chief Secretary's attention has been called to a poster sent by post to Members of this House, and purporting to be published by one W. D. Wilson, of Crettingham, Norfolk, imputing that Enniskillen is a centre of the white slave traffic, and that fifty young girls had been exported from Mullaghmeen, the residence of Mr. J. West, Crocknacrieve, the residence of Mr. W. H. West, and Ballinamallard, the adjoining village, and that the Cooneyites, a Christian sect, of which Messrs. West are leading members, are actively carrying on the traffic; is he aware that Messrs. West recovered damages by action in London last year against this W. D. Wilson for a similar imputation; and has he inquired through the police whether there is any foundation whatever for the charges made by Mr.. Wilson, and with what result; and will he consult the Law Officers as to a prosecution of Mr. Wilson, if sane, for criminal libel?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I have seen a copy of the poster referred to. The police inform me that there is no truth in the statement that Enniskillen is a centre of the white slave traffic. I understand that Messrs. West instituted proceedings last year against Mr. Wilson, and that the case was settled by consent, Mr. Wilson making a public apology and paying £100 damages. I am advised that this is not a case in which the police should prosecute; the matter would appear to be one for civil action.