HC Deb 18 December 1967 vol 756 cc917-8
36. Mr. Maddan

asked the Attorney-General whether he has now received the report of the Director of Public Prosecutions into the affairs of Rolls Razor Limited; and whether he will make a Statement.

The Attorney-General

The Director of Public Prosecutions has received the report from the police and is considering it in consultation with counsel. Counsel have advised that certain further inquiries should be made. These are now taking place and should be completed shortly. The Director will then be in a Position to decide what action, if any, should be taken.

Mr. Maddan

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman urge counsel to complete their inquiries speedily? It is three and a half years since the Company went into voluntary liquidation and we were told six months ago that the Director of Public Prosecutions' report would be imminent. This seems to go on for a very long time, and there are many who hope that a conclusion will now be reached.

The Attorney-General

I am indeed aware of the need for urgency in this matter. As the hon. Member knows it is a complex matter involving investigation into the affairs of several companies over the course of a number of years. It is obviously in the public interest that a matter of this nature should be fully and carefully investigated. But I assure the hon. Member that I am bringing any pressure that is available to me to bear upon the need for speed in this matter.

Mr. Carlisle

Would not the Attorney-General agree that the length of time that these highly complicated inquiries take is a matter of great concern to many people? What steps has he in mind to improve both the efficiency and the number of people involved in the fraud squad?

The Attorney-General

The problem is not lack of members in the fraud squad, so much as the complexity of the transactions that are being investigated. Not more than a given number of minds can helpfully apply themselves to the problem, but I am aware of the anxiety at the delay in proceedings of this kind.

Mr. Paget

Would my right hon. and learned Friend agree that swiftness is of the essence of criminal justice and that a delay of three and a half years is a terrible hardship.

The Attorney-General

I agree that swiftness is important, but so also is thoroughness, both to the public and possibly to those who are liable to be charged.