HC Deb 25 November 1958 vol 596 cc205-6
26. Sir D. Robertson

asked the Lord Advocate why the charge against Police Constables Gunn and Harper for assaulting and injuring John Waters, aged 15 years, was not proceeded with after the Procurator Fiscal, Wick, reported the case to him for instruction of Crown counsel if he has yet considered the seventeen written statements made by witnesses and forwarded to him by the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland, together with the statement made by Dr. Fell who treated the boy on the night of the assault and on two subsequent occasions; and if he will now give immediate instructions to have the case put down for trial.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland (Mr. William Grant)

As my right hon. and learned Friend stated in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend on 8th July, Crown Counsel did not order proceedings in this case because in their view the evidence did not justify proceedings being taken. On receiving the statements referred to, my right hon. and learned Friend carefully considered them and caused further investigation to be made. Having done so he decided that on the evidence before him he would not be justified in instituting criminal proceedings against the constables concerned, and he so informed my hon. Friend by letter dated 28th July. My right hon. and learned Friend is still of the same opinion.

Sir D. Robertson

Does not my right hon. and learned Friend know that, during the whole of the seven months have been pressing the case, none of the statements contained in this Question has been challenged? Does he also know that many of the people of Caithness know that this assault took place and they will be gravely and grievously disappointed at the reply given today denying a trial? Why should there be all this covering up and lack of informing this House why a trial has not taken place?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

The mere fact that there is local feeling that something has happened is no ground for taking proceedings in a case where the evidence does not justify it.

Sir D. Robertson

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the answer, Sir. I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter again at the first opportunity.