§ 38. Mr. Malcolm MacPherson
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in view of the difference in severity which may result between a fine and the period of imprisonment imposed in default of payment, he will take steps to amend the periods of imprisonment laid down in Section 49 of the Summary Jurisdiction (Scotland) Act, 1954.
§ Mr. Maclay
The periods of imprisonment laid down in Section 49 of the Summary Jurisdiction (Scotland) Act, 1954, are maxima within which the sentencing court may decide what period should be imposed in default of payment of a fine in the circumstances of each case before it. I have no proposals for amending legislation at present.
§ Mr. Malcolm MacPherson
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider some of the periods of imprisonment which have been imposed in the Dunoon area? For instance, is he aware that in a recent and not untypical case, when a fine of £15 was not paid, the imprisonment awarded was sixty days? Is not that, on the one hand, an open invitation to anyone seeking martyrdom and, on the other, an inequitable amount of imprisonment for anyone genuinely concerned with conscience?
§ Mr. Maclay
It would not be proper for me to comment on decisions of any court of law. However, I understand that in some of the cases the court has exercised its discretion and has imposed various periods within the statutory maxima.