John M'peake (Arrest in Glasgow).

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland. – in the House of Commons on 24th July 1923.

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Photo of Mr John Muir Mr John Muir , Glasgow Maryhill


asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland if he is aware that John McPeake, who was born and brought up in Glasgow, was recently arrested there and charged with the theft of an armoured car from the Irish Free State Government; that the charge of theft was departed from, or dropped, owing to the failure of the military witnesses of the Irish Free State to give evidence; that John McPeake was thereupon discharged, but immediately rearrested in Glasgow without any fresh charge being preferred against him and transferred to Ireland; and that he is now held in custody by the Free State authorities without being brought to trial; will he state on whose authority the arrest was made; if any charge has now been made; and, if so, what charge?

Photo of Mr Frederick Thomson Mr Frederick Thomson , Aberdeen South

John McPeake was arrested by the Glasgow police on the 21st June on a charge of intimidation. While he was being detained on this charge, information was received that he was wanted by the Irish Free State authorities on a charge of theft of an armoured car and machine gun at Cork in December last. In view of the greater seriousness of the Irish charge, the Scottish charge was dropped, and McPeake was on 26th June handed over to an Irish escort in pursuance of a warrant granted by an Irish magistrate and endorsed in Glasgow in accordance with the ordinary statutory procedure. McPeake has not returned to Glasgow and has not been rearrested there. I am not aware as to the course of the proceedings against McPeake in the Irish Free State.

Photo of Mr John Muir Mr John Muir , Glasgow Maryhill

Cannot these matters be dealt with in a constitutional way? Can the hon. Gentleman account for the fact that a younger brother of this man who went over to Ireland to try to obtain some information about his brother has been arrested and is held there, although he is a British subject?

Photo of Mr John Robertson Mr John Robertson , Bothwell

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that McPeake, after being charged, was released, on the charge being dismissed, and was then rearrested by the Irish authorities and is now detained in Ireland? Will he have inquiries made into this imprisonment of British subjects in Ireland?

Photo of Mr John Muir Mr John Muir , Glasgow Maryhill

Is the Solicitor-General aware that this man McPeake, although the charge has not been made openly against him, is in danger of death, and, while conforming to the Regulations of the Free State, is it not essential that we should safeguard the interests of a British subject so far as the law is concerned?

Photo of Mr Frederick Thomson Mr Frederick Thomson , Aberdeen South

So far as the Scottish Office is concerned, the procedure followed in this case is perfectly regular.

Photo of Mr William Pringle Mr William Pringle , Penistone

Is it competent for the Free State authorities, having received a prisoner on a certain charge, afterwards, when that charge had been dismissed, to rearrest him on another charge? Is not this case subject to the rule relating to extradition that, if the charge on which extradition is granted is withdrawn, the person who has been charged should be returned to the jurisdiction from which he has been taken?

Photo of Mr Frederick Thomson Mr Frederick Thomson , Aberdeen South

That does not in the least arise out of the answer to the main question.

Photo of Mr John Hayes Mr John Hayes , Liverpool Edge Hill

Are we to understand that the warrants issued by courts in Ireland are recognised by courts in this country, and in that case is there any reciprocity of arrangement by which warrants issued in this country for the arrest of people in Ireland are to be recognised by courts in Ireland?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. Member had better put that question on the Paper.