HC Deb 10 February 1998 vol 306 cc277-8 11.42 pm
Mr. Paul Truswell (Pudsey)

It is my pleasure to present this petition, which has been signed by 1,200 of my constituents. It concerns the tragic death of 14-year-old John Knowles. It states: The petition of the citizens of Pudsey Constituency Declares that we support Mr. and Mrs. John Knowles of Calverley, Pudsey, and our MP Paul Truswell in their campaign to amend the Licensing Act 1964 following the death of 14-year-old David Knowles. David died when he ran across the Stanningley Bypass, Pudsey, after consuming three cans of lager. He had purchased the alcohol for himself and a friend on two occasions from an off licence in Pudsey. Following police investigations, the Crown Prosecution Service initiated proceedings against those who had sold David the alcohol. This prosecution could not proceed because of the precedent set by the appeal of Russell v. DPP, December 1996. This case confirmed that people selling to persons under 18 can be found guilty under section 169(1) of the Act only if they are the licensee or the directly employed servants of the licensee. In David's case, those who sold him the alcohol were employed by a national off licence chain, and not by the person whose name appears on the licence operating at their place of work. They were therefore immune from prosecution. The Petitioners therefore request the House of Commons amend the Licensing Act 1964 to correct this major defect in the law which no longer provides the protection to people under 18 originally intended. And the Petitioners remain etc.

To lie upon the Table.

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