HC Deb 25 July 1939 vol 350 cc1258-9
76. Mr. Groves

asked the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that Thomas G. Barclay, of Kilmarnock, was, on the 23rd May, convicted at the Glasgow southern police court of an alleged traffic-light offence and fined I0S.; and, in view of the fact that on appeal the conviction was quashed and Mr. Barclay given costs of seven guineas, whether he can state the nature of the inquiries he made before deciding, on 23rd June, that he could not advise interfering with the conviction?

Mr. Colville

In considering this case I had before me, in accordance with the usual practice, the police information and a report by the presiding magistrate. I would add that the ground on which the conviction was quashed was that the magistrate used language which was inconsistent with his judicial office. This is a matter which falls within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Justiciary on a Bill of Suspension.

Mr. Graves

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how his Department arrives at the reply that they could see no sufficient ground to intervene in view of the fact that the magistrate said that he did not care if the defendant had 40 witnesses, he must have done something wrong or he would not be in court?

Mr. Colville

I explained in my answer the reason why the conviction was quashed. It was quashed on the ground that the magistrate used unjudicial language, and this is a matter which falls within the jurisdiction of the High Court.

Mr. Buchanan

In view of this case, and the remarks of the High Court judge upon it when it was heard on appeal, would the right hon. Gentleman consider circularising magistrates and others throughout Scotland who are responsible for administering justice calling attention to the need for confining themselves to the trial of cases?

Mr. Colville

I think that that might confuse the innocent with the guilty, but the publicity given to this question may have a good effect.