HL Deb 16 May 1834 vol 23 cc1098-9
The Lord Chancellor

could not avoid calling the attention of their Lordships to the state of the proceedings upon this Bill. They had been going on for nearly a fortnight, and had examined between thirty-five and forty witnesses, and there were upwards of 100 more summoned. At the same time a Bill had passed the other House, and was coming up to their Lordships, which would greatly facilitate the procuring of witnesses. It was of great importance to the honour and character of that House, and what their Lordships, on all sides of the House, he was sure desired, that no evidence should be given which was not strictly consonant with the established rules of legal evidence. The interruptions and discussions upon the subject, however, might be almost endless if they had not the advantage of knowing to what points the testimony of each witness was to be directed. He thought, therefore, that Counsel ought to let the House know briefly the points to which the evidence was to be given. It was by no means unprecedented to have an opening from Counsel for this purpose; and he thought it was not too late, seeing the magnitude of the evidence still to be given, to cause that course to be taken. This was done in the Queen's business. He did not mean to make any proposition; but simply to throw this out for the consideration of their Lordships. He should be glad to know what the noble Earl thought upon the subject. Such a course would not lengthen, but tend much to shorten, the proceedings; for having heard beforehand the scope of a particular witness's testimony, he should be able to judge more readily of the course of examination pursued, and to stop what was irregular.

The Earl of Radnor

said, that, although the noble and learned Lord had alluded to him upon this question, he took no more interest in this Bill than any one of their Lordships. He knew no more of the case than they did, or of the facts intended to be proved. With respect to the feelings of his noble friend, who had charge of the Bill, and was absent from the House in consequence of an accident which had just befallen one of his family, he could not speak. He could not undertake to give any opinion upon the proposal of the noble and learned Lord. He desired to see justice done, and that was all.

The Lord Chancellor

suggested, that the better course would be, to submit at once a motion to their Lordships, to the effect that the Counsel for the Bill should be instructed shortly to open their case on the meeting of the House after the recess, and to point out with as much conciseness as possible the further evidence they meant to produce, without, however, touching upon the testimony already given; if their Lordships had no objection to this course, he would put the motion.

The Duke of Wellington

thought, as the noble Lord (Lord Durham) who had charge of the Bill was not in his place, it would be better to postpone the Motion until it was ascertained whether or not he would concur in it.

Subject dropped.

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