HC Deb 11 December 1979 vol 975 cc1085-6
Mr. Speaker

I have a brief statement to make. Yesterday, the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. Hughes) asked me about the sub judice rule on his ability to pursue the case of a constituent of his who has died in Walton prison and whose death is now the subject of a coroner's inquest.

I have looked into the matter and have decided that, although the cause of death is now sub judice, this would be a suitable case for the exercise of the discretion specifically given to me by the House. I have particularly in mind the fact that under the Criminal Law Act 1977 a coroner is not empowered to name and charge a person with murder or manslaughter. I would, therefore, be prepared to allow questions asking for a statement upon, or an inquiry into, the circumstances surrounding this case in advance of the conclusion of the coroner's investigation.

Mr. Mark Hughes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, very sincerely for that ruling. I ask for time to consider the implications.

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