HC Deb 08 April 1981 vol 2 cc953-4
45. Mr. Gordon Wilson

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many prosecutions involving glue sniffing took place in 1980; what was the success rate in defended cases; and if he will make a statement.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

There is no separate register kept by procurators fiscal of the numbers of prosecutions involving glue sniffing, as that act in itself is not illegal. The charge libelled in any prosecution where an accused has inhaled a solvent will depend on the circumstances. I cannot therefore quote the success rate in defended cases where glue sniffing is a feature.

Mr. Wilson

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman consider the cases of Fisher v. Keane and Skeen v. Malik in which the Crown Office through the procurators fiscal sought to control this dangerous habit by prosecution? In the event of the failure of those cases, what does the Crown Office intend to do either by way of different charges or by way of encouraging his right hon. Friend to take action and to introduce legislation to deal with this problem?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

As the hon. Gentleman knows, this is a matter which finds agreement on both sides of the House. It is a serious problem among young people and so far it defies solution. The case of Fisher v. Keane was successful. If appropriate circumstances arise, I have no doubt that we can try another prosecution. In the meantime, it is the responsibility of all hon. Members to demonstrate the hazards of this unfortunate habit.