§ 20. Mr. MANDER
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that, in connection with the recent prosecution of Leopold Harris, the representatives of insurance interests, on approaching the Public Prosecutor with a view to his taking action, were told that no action would be taken unless they guaranteed the cost; and whether the Director of Public Prosecutions in carrying out his 471 work is influenced partially by financial considerations and not solely in securing justice?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
There is no foundation whatever for the statement that the Director of Public Prosecutions told the representatives of the fire companies and Lloyd's underwriters concerned that no action would be taken unless they guaranteed the cost. It is unusual for the Director of Public Prosecutions to undertake prosecutions when great corporations are concerned who may properly be asked to take proceedings. In these circumstances it was agreed that the whole of the costs subject to the usual contribution by the county, should be paid by the interests concerned. My right hon. Friend the Attorney-General was then asked to give his consent to the proposal made by the companies and Lloyd's underwriters concerned that the conduct of the prosecution should be in the hands of their own solicitors as agents for the Director of Public Prosecutions. In the special circumstances of the case the Attorney-General gave his consent to this course, and no question as to the payment of costs by the Director of Public Prosecutions could have arisen. The interest of justice is the consideration which alone influences the Director of Public Prosecutions in carrying out his difficult and responsible duties.
§ Mr. MANDER
Are we to understand from that that this prosecution would have taken place in any event, even if the whole cost had fallen on the Treasury?