HC Deb 17 May 1976 vol 911 cc953-4
43. Mr. Robert Hughes

asked the Attorney-General if the Director of Public Prosecutions has yet completed his investigations into the activities of Southern Placement Services Ltd. in relation to breaches of sanctions regulations on evidence supplied by the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North.

The Attorney-General

Yes. The Director of Public Prosecutions has concluded that there is no evidence presently available to support a prosecution under the sanctions Order against any person within the jurisdiction.

Mr. Hughes

That is a disappointing answer. Has the Director of Public Prosecutions taken into consideration the legal responsibility of the newspaper proprietors who take such advertisements for commercial gain? Am I right in suggesting that my right hon. and learned Friend's answer means that there is no jurisdiction here in the sense that those who place the advertisements are abroad? Is there not a responsibility on the newspaper proprietors in this country?

The Attorney-General

Of course there is a responsibility, and any possibility of a prosecution has been fully taken into account by the Director of Public Prosecutions in consultation with my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General. The position of the newspapers has been very carefully considered, but, having read the advertisements, I must agree with the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Solictor-General that no prosecution could be entertained.

Sir David Renton

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman confirm that it cannot be treasonable or in any way criminal for a British subject to volunteer to defend British territory?

The Attorney-General

That is a totally different question from the one put to me, and I am not prepared to answer it now.