HC Deb 19 November 1946 vol 430 cc676-7
39. Mr. Lipson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he has taken with regard to two boys, aged 12 years, missing from an institution at Carstairs, Lanarkshire, of whom, after a week, one was found dead and the other suffering from frost-bite and exposure; why they were not discovered earlier; and if he will have a full investigation into the conditions at the institution concerned.

Mr. Buchanan

The General Board of Control for Scotland have investigated fully the circumstances of the accident, and it is to be the subject of a public inquiry under the Fatal Accidents Inquiry Acts. The boys escaped at dusk and a search by police and staff in the extensive grounds, which began within ten minutes of their escape, failed to find them. The reasons for this may emerge when the boy who survived is fit to be questioned. I should like to take this opportunity of expressing my sympathy with the relatives of the two boys.

Mr. Lipson

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether an inquiry has been begun, and how long it will take?

Mr. Buchanan

Notice of an inquiry into a fatal accident is published in the newspapers in Scotland as to when it is to be held—and it takes a fair time—which is quite proper, as everyone should be given an opportunity of attending it. There is a legal method that decides the time, and that time will be duly operated.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will the hon. Gentleman make certain that during this inquiry there is no possibility of victimisation of the other boys who have to give evidence from that particular home?

Mr. Buchanan

My information about the home—I do not want to anticipate the inquiry—is that, so far, it has been exceedingly well run. I will make inquiries to see that there is nothing like that, but I should be terribly surprised if there was anything, because our reports are not of that kind.