§ 16. Mr. Barnett
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will explain the circumstances in which the application for a passport for Robert Macdonald of 24, Dundee Road, Wyke Regis, Weymouth, was kept for some weeks in the hands of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
§ Mr. P. Thomas
There was good reason to believe that the signature on Mr. Macdonald's application form purporting to be that of his father was not authentic. The case was therefore referred in the normal way to the local police authorities for enquiry and subsequently, on receipt of the police report, to the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether proceedings should be instituted against the applicant under Section36 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1925. Mr. Macdonald has since been interviewed and the passport issued to him.
§ Mr. Barnett
Will the hon. Gentleman look at this whole business more carefully? Is he aware that as far as I can make out there was no question of this 17 young man attempting to simulate his father's signature? I understand that after answering the questions correctly he wrote his own signature, crossed it out and then wrote his father's? The father was written to and asked to confirm that his consent had been given and immediately and promptly gave it. Does the hon. Gentleman not think that passing this case to the Director of Public Prosecutions without informing the lad or his father was ham-fisted, to say the least, and had consequences which prevented the boy from going on a trip which he was hoping to go on?
§ Mr. Thomas
I cannot agree with the hon. Member. This was a clear case of a young man forging another signature. It was in due course passed to the police for inquiries to be made. The police took information from him and, therefore, that information then had to go to the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether a prosecution should be instituted. The Director considered this matter but decided that a severe caution to the boy was appropriate. Therefore, he was not prosecuted and we then gave him a passport.