§ 19. Mr. PETO
asked the Home Secretary whether an appeal against the suspension of his certificate for three months at a Board of Trade inquiry into the stranding of the steamer "Fulani" was lodged by Captain Evan Williams on 31st October of last year, and that this appeal was not heard until 24th April last, nearly six months after it was lodged and four months after the period of suspension had expired; and, if so, having regard to the delay and expense to which merchant captains or officers are thus subjected in appealing against suspensions of their certificates, he will take steps to ensure these appeals being heard with a minimum of delay after they have been lodged?
§ Sir J. SIMON
I have made inquiries of the judicial authorities. Captain Williams' appeal was dismissed, so that the decision of the Board of Trade inquiry was upheld. The dates given by the hon. Member, however, are correct, though intervening dates might be given which would to some extent explain the delay. As a rule, a Divisional Court in Admiralty, before which these appeals are heard, is held once a month, but, owing to the illness of Mr. Justice Bargrave Deane and the pressure of work in the Prize Court, this was not possible in the early part of 1987 this year. I am glad to be able to inform the hon. Member that there are now no arrears in that Court—only one appeal is pending, and the parties are not ready.