HC Deb 24 June 1937 vol 325 cc1358-9
20. Mr. Graham White

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the case of Mrs. Butcher, who was tried at Marlborough Street police court on 11th June on a charge of wilfully interfering with persons using Hyde Park by going up and speaking to men, when it was found that a serious mistake had been made by the police and she was acquitted; and whether he will now give instructions that no person shall be arrested on such a charge unless someone has made a complaint of having been interfered with or annoyed by that person?

Sir S. Hoare

I am aware of the circumstances of the case to which the hon. Member refers. The question whether the evidence available was sufficient to support the charge was one for the magistrate, whose decision is conclusive on this point, but after making inquiries I can find no reason for thinking that the police were at fault in bringing the defendent before the court. I understand that an application for costs was made on her behalf, on the ground that the charge was not properly brought, and was refused. I have no authority to give instructions to the police in the sense suggested in the second part of the question.

Mr. White

In considering the reply which he has now given, had the Minister in mind the recommendation of the Committee which investigated this point?

Sir S. Hoare

Yes, we took all relevant factors into account.