HC Deb 04 May 1925 vol 183 c608W

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware of the disadvantage which may attach to a person accused of murder, or manslaughter, in the conduct of his defence arising from the practice of appointing one medical gentleman only to conduct a post-mortem examination; and whether he will take the necessary steps to ensure that, where a person has died in circumstances which may lead to a criminal charge being made against another in connection with the death and a post-mortem examination is held, a duly qualified medical practitioner shall be appointed to watch the examination in the interests of the person, if any, thereafter to be charged?


My right hon. Friend does not see his way to propose legislation for this purpose. A post-mortem examination is not a matter of advocacy but of scientific investigation. The Director of Public Prosecutions is, however, considering whether it may not be possible to arrange that the defence shall have the opportunity of appointing a medical man to be present on behalf of the defendant when the postmortem examination is performed.