HC Deb 03 May 1916 vol 82 cc23-4

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether his attention has been drawn to the results of the prosecutions before Sheriff-substitute Baillie of the first batch of cases arising in the county of Roxburgh, in the burghs of Jedburgh and Kelso, under the Lighting Order No. 1, for failing to obscure sufficiently the lights on the premises of the burghers charged; whether he is aware that on or about the 13th April Mr. David Cockburn was fined £15, Mr. Mathew Car-stairs Noble £7 10s., Mrs. Noble, his wife,. also £7 10s., Mr. George Steel Forbes £10, Mr. George Beveridge £10, and Mr. James Hunter £7 10s.; and whether he will make inquiry, in cases where a plea of guilty was offered, into the nature of the failure or negligence admitted or proved, and into all the circumstances of the case and the positions, wealthy or otherwise, of the persons sentenced, with a view to considering whether the prerogative of mercy of the Crown should graciously be exercised as regards the amounts of fines?

The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. McKinnon Wood)

My attention has not been called to the cases mentioned by my hon. Friend and I know of no reasons why I should intervene. It is of great importance that the Regulations should be strictly observed.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these were the first cases under the Defence of the Realm Act, and that in neighbouring burghs fines ranging from £2 down to 6s. have been imposed; that the same judge has since dealt with similar cases, and imposed fines of 15s. instead of £15?


Some of the fines seem to have been very inadequate, but I am not aware of the circumstances in which they were imposed.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the fines mentioned amounted to £57 10s., and that they were imposed on a rural town in a rural part of Scotland far removed from the sea, and that fines in similar cases elsewhere have rightly or wrongly only ranged from 15s. to 30s. Will the right hon. Gentleman, in view of the status of these people, see that while they are adequately fined there is some remission made?


I cannot promise to make any remission. The Sheriff is perfectly competent to judge as to the proper fine to be imposed. I do not think that the point that this is an inland town is one which would lend much comfort to the inhabitants, as we have had Zeppelin raids over inland towns more than once recently.