HC Deb 09 June 1976 vol 912 cc1429-31
32. Mr. Teddy Taylor

asked the Lord Advocate what result emerged from his official visit to the courts in Glasgow in May.

The Lord Advocate (Mr. Ronald King Murray)

I visited the Glasgow District Court in March. I was pleased with the state of the prosecution in that court, and the figures that I have subsequently received show that the position is still improving. There is room yet for improvement but I am hopeful that by the end of the year there will no longer be any delay in bringing cases before that court.

Mr. Taylor

Has the Lord Advocate noted the recent Rotary Tools trial in the Glasgow Sheriff Court, which appears to have cost the taxpayer a scandalous amount in administrative and legal costs? Will he consider ways in which such justified prosecutions can be undertaken at less cost?

The Lord Advocate

I am investigating the matter of the cost of the trial. On the major issue that the hon. Gentleman put to me, it is only fair to say that the nature and gravity of this case made it necessary for it to be taken in a court higher than a summary court. One of the

a table, I shall arrange to have it circulated in the Official Report.

Mr. Welsh

Is the Minister aware of the enormous wave of protest throughout the Arbroath district against the Tayside Health Board's proposal to downgrade the status and function of Arbroath Infirmary? Will he ensure that no decision will be taken without full consideration being given to the views of the people of Arbroath?

Mr. Ewing

I am aware of the wave of protest in Arbroath, as is the regional health board. All considerations will be taken into account before a decision is reached.

Following is the table:

sentences imposed was of 12 months, which shows that we were justified in taking the case on indictment.

Mrs. Winifred Ewing

In view of the sensitivity of Scots law to the rights of the accused, will the Lord Advocate look at the practice in Glasgow courts by which persons not eligible for or admitted to bail are allowed to lay in for 110 days and, because the prosecution is not ready, are then released without bail?

The Lord Advocate

That is the first suggestion that I have heard that a practice of that kind exists in Glasgow. Perhaps the hon. Lady will write to me about it. It is a matter of such importance that I am surprised that she has not written to me about it before.

Mr. Alexander Wilson

Does the Lord Advocate agree that the recent Rotary Tools trial is a clear indication of private enterprise?

The Lord Advocate

I can only say that it is not the kind of private enterprise that I should wish to condone.

Mr. Alexander Fletcher

Does the Lord Advocate agree that in the Rotary Tools trial the employees of private industry were dealt with more severely by their companies than were the employees of nationalised industries involved in the trial.

The Lord Advocate

I doubt whether that is true. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will table a specific Question on that matter.

Mr. Carmichael

Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that if the trial were published in paper book form quite a bit of the money could be recouped for the Scottish Office?

The Lord Advocate

It is right to refute any suggestion that the cost of trial was excessive. But I am looking into the matter.