HC Deb 12 April 1927 vol 205 cc178-9
35. Mr. MAXTON

asked the Lord Advocate who was responsible for initiating a prosecution against the smallholders in South Harris; and if this action was taken after consultation with the Secretary of State for Scotland?

The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. William Watson)

The hon. Member no doubt refers to the recent proceedings in the Sheriff Court at Lochmaddy, when five persons were sentenced to two months' imprisonment for breach of interdict. Interdict was obtained at the instance of the proprietor of a farm of which the individuals referred to had taken possession, and a petition and complaint for breach of the interdict in which the sentence was pronounced was brought by the proprietor of the estate with the concurrence of the Procurator Fiscal, which concurrence was given in ordinary course. My right hon. Friend intimated through the Board of Agriculture to the proprietor of the farm that, if he could make it available for the possession of smallholders to be selected by the Board, the contemplated scheme for settlement of such smallholders on the farm would be proceeded with. My right hon. Friend had no part in the proceedings, in regard to which he has no jurisdiction.


Has the Secretary of State for Scotland been able to take any steps to relieve the distress of the dependants of these men, and is he considering a remission of their sentences?


That does not arise out of this question.


Did the Board of Agriculture guarantee to the proprietor the cost of taking proceedings against these men? Did they facilitate him in doing it?


No guarantee was offered or given.


Can the Lord Advocate say whether or not it is the case that these men were served with notice to appear at the Sheriff Court on 31st March and that they were arrested prior to that date?


There is a question down about that for to-morrow.


We are raising that matter on the Adjournment to-morrow night.