HC Deb 25 March 1952 vol 498 cc188-9
36. Mr. M. MacMillan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland in how many prosecutions for deer poaching in Scotland last year convictions were secured; how many sentences of imprisonment were imposed; and what was the heaviest fine and sentence of imprisonment.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

The only provisions of the existing game laws which apply to deer in Scotland make it an offence punishable by a fine of £2 to trespass by day in pursuit of deer, and provide for the payment of £20 by any person who kills deer without a game licence. In the 10 northern counties during 1951 proceedings were taken in seven cases, and the 12 persons convicted were fined £2 or £3 each.

Mr. MacMillan

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that the punishments at present in operation are quite sufficient and that the Highlanders have shown remarkable restraint in having so few prosecutions brought before the courts for taking their own deer from their own hills, and will he resist the proposed legislation to tyrannise the area with this Deer Bill?

Mr. Stewart

No, Sir. We are advised by those who, with the exception of the hon. Member, know best in this matter that something on the lines of the new Deer Bill, which has had a Second Reading in another place, is desirable, and we propose to carry through that Measure.

Mr. MacMillan

If the hon. Gentleman cannot produce more evidence than he has today, what evidence is there that this legislation is necessary?

Mr. Speaker

We must discuss that Bill when we come to it.