HC Deb 16 June 1938 vol 337 cc498-9

(1) Sub-section (1) of Section four of the Criminal Evidence Act, 1898, shall apply as regards any offence mentioned in the First Schedule to the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act, 1937, in like manner as the said sub-section applies as regards the offences therein referred to.

(2) Section twenty-six of the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act, 1937, is hereby repealed.—[The Lord Advocate.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

7.43 P.m.

The Lord Advocate

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The purpose of this Clause is purely technical. It arises in this way. When the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act, 1937, was passed a change was accidentally made in the law of evidence as it had existed since the Criminal Evidence Act, 1898. Since 1898 the wife or husband of an accused person has been a competent witness either for the prosecution or the defence in regard to certain offences, but by an accident that privilege was restricted by the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act, 1937, to statutory offences and attention was drawn to the matter only a few weeks ago in the course of a prosecution. The mistake is manifestly an accidental drafting error, and the purpose of the new Clause is to restore the position to what it was prior to the Act of 1937.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.