HC Deb 03 December 1941 vol 376 cc1138-9
66. Mr. McKinlay

asked the Lord Advocate why his Department instructed no proceedings in the food control complaint against R. and J. Templeton for having on 8th October, 1941, in one of their Glasgow branches, and by the hands of an employee, sold a tin of diced carrots at a price of 11½d., the controlled price of which was 7½d., when proceedings were taken in almost similar circumstances against John MacLaughlan, another retailer who, on 18th November, was fined £2 for selling a tin of diced carrots for 8½d., an overcharge of 1d.?

The Lord Advocate (Mr. J. S. C. Reid)

No proceedings were taken against Messrs. R. & J. Templeton, Limited, because there were in this case extenuating circumstances which in my judgment made it proper not to prosecute.

Mr. McKinlay

Is it not a fact that similar circumstances applied in the case of MacLaughlan and 22 other traders who were fined for selling at a halfpenny over the fixed price, and that all of them had the same reasons for doing so, and is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there is a growing feeling that the small trader is being discriminated against, because Templeton's sold at 4½d. over the price and there was no prosecution?

The Lord Advocate

The circumstances in Templeton's case were not present in any other cases.

Mr. McKinlay

Is the Lord Advocate aware that in Glasgow there is the opinion that the circumstances were the same in both the cases referred to in my Question?

The Lord Advocate

I have seen the papers, and there are different circumstances.

Mr. Garro Jones

What were those circumstances?

The Lord Advocate

It has never been the practice for the Lord Advocate to give particulars of the reasons which have led him either to prosecute or not to prosecute. That has never been the practice, and the reason is that in very many cases it would be plainly contrary to the public interest to disclose the reasons in such cases.

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