HC Deb 12 May 1959 vol 605 cc1019-20
3. Mr. Osborne

asked the Attorney-General how many psychiatrists are officially employed, either part-time or full-time, in criminal courts; how much they are paid; on what grounds they are appointed; how they can be dismissed; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General

The answer to the first part of the Question is, "None". The second, third and fourth parts do not therefore arise. The answer to the fifth part is, "No".

Mr. Osborne

Does my right hon. and learned Friend know that I am delighted with these answers? May I have an assurance from him that no public money will be wasted on this type of evidence given in court? In order to support what I am asking him to do, would he be good enough to look at a case which John Gordon mentioned recently in the Sunday Express of a man who strangled his sweetheart—a case in which a psychiatrist said that he was doing it, as it were, by mercy killing? Will he see that such rubbish is not put before the courts at public expense?

The Attorney-General

Dealing with the question of public expense, I am not aware of any waste of money in presenting evidence to the courts. As to receiving evidence from persons called by the defence who are psychiatrists, I certainly would not be in favour of putting any restriction on the evidence given on behalf of the defence.