HC Deb 08 November 1944 vol 404 cc1361-2
64. Sir Herbert Williams

asked the Attorney-General whether he intends to prosecute Captain Vivian H. T. Davison, staff officer, sub-district, including West Sussex, for having stated on oath, at Littlehampton Police Court, on 21st August, that mines were sown in the beach at East Preston, since it is now known that no mines were ever sown in this beach.

The Solicitor-General (Major Sir David Maxwell Fyfe)

A prosecution would have to be based on a wilful misstatement, and I am satisfied that there is no basis for any such suggestion. I have compared the report of the evidence, as taken by the clerk and as reported in the newspapers, and I have also seen a statement by Captain Davison. The newspaper reports confirm Captain Davison's recollection that he was referring to mines in the area and had particularly in mind the mines which were above high water mark on the stretch of East Preston beach which were not protected from the seaward side.

Sir H. Williams

Having regard to the fact that the officer stated that the danger arose, owing to the fact that mines had drifted above the shingle, will the hon. and learned Gentleman reconsider his answer?

Mr. Quintin Hogg

Is it not highly undesirable to make an allegation of perjury against an officer by name in this House where it is unsupported by the smallest evidence?

Sir H. Williams

On a point of Order. As the evidence of the officer is in conflict with the statement made to the House by the Secretary of State for Air, and as 62 people, including a High Court judge, were fined as a result of this evidence, is it not desirable that these questions should be asked?