HC Deb 15 July 1942 vol 381 cc1234-5
56 and 57. Mr. Evelyn Walkden

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (1) the charges against Gibbs, a lorry driver, and Blackman, a wharf foreman, who were found guilty at the Central Criminal Court, on 7th July, 1942; and whether, since examining the papers connected with this case, he proposes to take any action against all the other persons connected with the charges; and

(2) whether the police allegations, at the Central Criminal Court on 7th July, in the wheat case, of long-term and widespread conspiracy at the London docks to arrange weighing machines and put extra grain into barges are being fully investigated; and whether he will make a statement on the extent of the defalcations and practices when the investigations are completed?

Mr. Mabane

Reginald Blackman and Phillip Henry Gibbs were prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecutions and were found guilty at the Old Bailey, Blackman on ten counts and Gibbs on one count, of receiving stolen wheat. Action against other persons concerned in the various transactions is under consideration by the Director of Public Prosecutions. I shall be pleased to give my hon. Friend the particulars for which he asks when all proceedings arising out of the transactions have been concluded.

Mr. Walkden

Is it not already abundantly clear that certain landowners and prominent citizens in Kent and Sussex have been mentioned, or at least, if they have not been mentioned by name, these persons have been referred to in evidence in the courts, and is it not generally held in different parts of Kent that their names are being protected for certain reasons best known to the hon. Gentleman's Noble Friend?

Mr. Mabane

I cannot accept what my hon. Friend suggests. All I can say is that I am sure the House would agree that it would be improper of me to make any further comment on the case, which is in the hands of the Director of Public Prosecutions and is therefore sub judice.