HC Deb 31 July 1931 vol 255 cc2625-6

asked the Home Secretary whether any of the expenses of the defence of William Gordon Baldwin, who was found guilty of the murder of a woman in Richmond Park on the 6th April, have been borne out of public funds; whether he has made further inquiries into the circumstances under which a solicitor stated he had been instructed to defend the prisoner, whereas the prisoner himself informed the magistrates that he did not understand he would have to pay the solicitor who had been so instructed and that he had not sent for him; and, if so, whether he intends taking any action in the matter?


I understand that the expenses of the defence in this case were defrayed from private sources. The usual allowances for witnesses under the Cost in Criminal Cases Act would be payable from local funds. As regards the latter part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to what my right hon. Friend said in answer to a Question by the hon. Member for North Newcastle (Sir N. Grattan-Doyle) on the 23rd April last. My right hon. Friend does not propose to take any action in the matter.


Is the Home Office empowered to take action should future cases arise of solicitors representing that they had been asked by prisoners to defend them when such instructions have not in fact been given them?


My right hon. Friend indicated that, if that was the point at issue, it was not a matter for him but rather for the Law Society.