HC Deb 12 December 1945 vol 417 c391
35. Mr. Marlowe

asked the Attorney General whether, in view of the evidence at inquests held at St. Pancras and Hammersmith, respectively, on 3rd December, to the effect that the deaths then being investigated were attributable to escapes of gas caused by the strike in the gas industry, he will cause these cases to be further investigated with a view to proceedings for manslaughter being taken against those responsible.

The Attorney-General

No, Sir. The evidence in each case showed that the death was caused by the failure to realise, owing to the gas supply having been temporarily cut off, that gas taps had been left turned on. No question of criminal responsibility could arise in these circum stances and each coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Mr. Marlowe

Would not leaving the tap on be a natural and reasonable con sequence, and that being so, is that not a prima facie case of negligence?

The Attorney-General

The hon. Gentleman will not expect me to enter into a discussion of the elements of our criminal law, but in my view, on the facts disclosed, the circumstances are miles away from manslaughter.