HC Deb 17 March 1955 vol 538 cc1444-5
39. Mr. Bullard

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases during the past 10 years the Metropolitan Police have pressed claims for costs against persons acquitted of criminal charges.

Major Lloyd-George

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave on 18th November, 1954, to a Question by the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes).

Mr. Ballard

As I have no knowledge of what was contained in the reply to which my right hon. and gallant Friend refers—

Miss Ward

It is very unsatisfactory.

Mr. Bullard

—can he give me some idea how common the practice is in England and Wales, apart from the Metropolitan area? If it is uncommon, as I hope it is, would that not be a good case for the local authority not pressing the claim in the case of Mr. Harry Fletcher, a garage proprietor in my constituency, who was acquitted of a criminal charge, and who is now being pressed for these costs?

Major Lloyd-George

I am sure that my hon. Friend will appreciate, as I mentioned in the reply to which I have just referred, that I can speak only for the police area for which I have authority, which is the Metropolitan area. However, I am very well aware of the circumstances of the case of Mr. Fletcher. I have been giving it close consideration, but at the moment I am not in a position to make any statement.