§ 3.4 p.m.
§ LORD ROYLE
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government what amount has fallen on the ratepayers of the County of Buckingham, so far, in connection with the Great Train Robbery and the trial.]
§ THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE, HOME OFFICE (LORD STONHAM)
My Lords, the known amount so far is£40,812. This includes prosecution costs, witnesses' and jurors' expenses and certain miscellaneous expenditure. It does not include any costs arising from the police investigations. Nor does it include expenditure arising from the recent trial of White, or from the current proceedings against Edwards, as the amount that will fall on the county in these two cases is not yet known.
§ LORD ROYLE
My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that reply. In view of the large sum involved—and there are very many other similar cases—is it not 117 unfair that the ratepayers of a particular area where there has been a great national crime should have to bear this burden? Will my noble friend make representations to his right honourable friend to find out whether it cannot now be considered that the whole of the costs of the prosecution be taken over by the national Exchequer?
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I appreciate that long and costly cases of this kind arise from time to time and that they present an undue burden to particular local authorities; but it is difficult to deal with them in a different way from that for the general run of cases in which orders are made on local authorities under the Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1952. However, I will certainly represent to my right honourable friend, in the strongest terms I can, what my noble friend has just said.
My Lords, could the noble Lord say what is the product of a penny rate in the county of Buckingham?