HC Deb 06 July 1977 vol 934 cc1243-4
29. Mr. Monro

asked the Lord Advocate when he intends to raise prosecutions against drivers of goods vehicles in Scotland accused of offences against the Road Traffic Acts who have in the past avoided appearance in court on account of domicile in Northern Ireland.

The Lord Advocate

Procurators fiscal do bring prosecutions against this category of drivers. In the vast bulk of road traffic offences, prosecutions are brought by serving a summary complaint on the accused person by post. In deciding whether or not to commence a prosecution by this means, procurators fiscal apply the same considerations in the case of persons domiciled in Northern Ireland as they do in the case of persons domiciled in other parts of the United Kingdom. With regard to persons domiciled in Northern Ireland, however, postal service carries no enforceable legal sanction.

The Criminal Law Bill, which is presently before Parliament, contains a provision that will make service of a Scottish summary complaint effective in any other part of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Monro

Will the Lord Advocate accept my appreciation of his work in the Criminal Law Bill to stop this loophole, which has caused much heartburning in Dumfries and Galloway? Will he further appreciate that the local residents and tourists are living a very hazardous life because of the standard of driving of some of the container lorry drivers from Ireland, and that anything that he can do about it will be much appreciated in the area?

The Lord Advocate

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's comments. This is a difficult problem, in which prosecution plays only a limited part.