HC Deb 18 June 1975 vol 893 cc1389-90
33. Mr. Rifkind

asked the Lord Advocate by which date he intends to ensure that there will be legally qualified prosecutors in all the district courts.

The Lord Advocate

All district courts have legally qualified prosecutors. In most districts the prosecutor is the procurator fiscal. In the others the local authorities have appointed solicitors as district prosecutors.

Mr. Rifkind

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman inform the House whether the assurance that he gave in Committee that there would be more highly qualified prosecutors by 16th May of next year will be met? Will he inform the House whether he is, in general, satisfied with the performance of the district courts in the short period that they have been in operation?

The Lord Advocate

As regards the last part of the hon. Gentleman's question, I have been encouraged by the performance of the prosecution in the district courts throughout Scotland. I should like to pay tribute to the procurator fiscals' service and the new district court prosecutors for the way in which they have risen to the challenge. I cannot speak beyond that because it is a matter beyond my ministerial jurisdiction.

As regards the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question, as he will appreciate, there are only 15 districts around the outer limits of Glasgow where Crown prosecutions do not take place at present. I am able to make a firmer prediction that there will be Crown prosecutions in these districts, as throughout Scotland, by 16th May 1976.

Mr. Henderson

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman accept that we all wish to see the prosecution staff fully equipped so that he can proceed with such necessary measures as the prosecution of Hamilton Brothers for the theft of Scottish oil and its removal from the jurisdiction of the Scottish courts?

The Lord Advocate

I have constantly under consideration the investigation of all crime wherever it has taken place.