HC Deb 01 November 1956 vol 558 cc1615-6
49. Mr. Collins

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason Mr. J. P. Harrigan, 13, Rosemary House, Shoreditch, N.1, was compelled by the Metropolitan Police to take part in an identification parade; and what sum he proposes to pa. Mr. Harrigan in compensation for the wrongful imprisonment he has suffered and the costs incurred in establishing his innocence.

Mr. Deedes

My right hon. and gallant Friend understands from preliminary inquiries which have been made that this case was investigated by the City of London Police and that the Metropolitan Police were not concerned in it in any way. When he has received a fuller report on the case my right hon. and gallant Friend will communicate with the hon. Member, but I should make it clear that it is not the practice, save in the most exceptional circumstances, to make any payment from public funds to a person merely because his conviction has been quashed on appeal. The Court of Criminal Appeal has power under the Costs in Criminal Cases Act, 1952, to order the payment to a successful appellant of such sums as appear to the court to be reasonably sufficient to compensate him for the- expenses properly incurred in prosecuting his appeal or carrying on his defence.

Mr. Collins

Would the hon. Gentleman ask his right hon. and gallant Friend to bear in mind, when he is considering this matter, that this man was put up for identification without the slightest reason for connecting him with the crime, and that he served five months in prison, and that his wife had to sell her jewellery and even the kitchen furniture to get funds to pay for the appeal? Will he press this matter upon his right hon. and gallant Friend in order that some substantial sum may be given in redress for this gross injustice?

Mr. Deedes

My right hon. and gallant Friend is going to look into this and send a report to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. S. Silverman

But is the hon. Gentleman not aware that there have been repeated assurances that men are not put up for identification in connection with particular crimes unless and until there is already some reasonable and probable cause to connect them with the offences, and that there is among those who are associated with the administration of the criminal law a mounting uneasiness about the continued cases of mistaken identity arising out of identification parades of this kind? Is it not time that the Home Department took the whole matter much more seriously?

Mr. Deedes

I cannot comment on what the hon. Member has said without referring to this particular case, and I prefer to await the report which my right hon. and gallant Friend is producing.

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