HC Deb 11 December 1912 vol 45 cc472-3W

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that, about two months ago, Alex. Horner, chauffeur to Mr. J. A. H. Macnair, was conversing with a policemen when a man came up and reported that an elderly lady had been knocked down in the street and robbed by three men; that this informant had followed the thieves and saw them go into a stable loft; that the policeman asked Horner to accompany him, and together they went to the loft, overpowered the thieves, and took them to the police office in Kensington High Street, that the following day Horner was summoned to attend the Police Court and, after spending several hours there, the thieves were remanded without his evidence being taken; that, a week or two later, he was again summoned to the Police Court, gave his evidence, and spent practically the whole day there, when the thieves were committed to the Central Criminal Court; that Horner, in response to a summons which stated that, unless he attended, he might be fined £40, went to the Central Criminal Court on Tuesday, 3rd December; that he spent the whole day in a room with other witnesses for this case, but the case did not come on and he was instructed to return on the following day; that the same waste of time occurred on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and the case was not taken until Saturday, 7th December; that, in consequence of this case, Mrs. Macnair has been deprived of the services of the chauffeur for seven days when she happened to be particularly busy, and has incurred considerable expense in taxi-cab fares; and will he say if he can take any steps to improve the arrangements for the attendance of witnesses and diminish the inconvenience and loss arising from their inability to carry on their ordinary occupations for so many days, having in view that not only is the time of witnesses absolutely wasted, but that the present system is a discouragement to the public to assist the police in their work?


I am making inquiry into the facts of this case, and will let the hon. Member have an answer later.