Of 108 cases arising out of the demonstration referred to, 87 have already been brought to trial and finally disposed of. Of the remainder dates for trial have been fixed in nine cases, and as regards the rest instructions have been given for their disposal. There has, accordingly, been no delay.
It is now seven or eight weeks since these men were arrested on what is either a very simple charge or no charge at all. Are the police having difficulty in finding evidence in these cases?
No, the police have had no difficulty of any kind in finding evidence. The hon. Member should keep in view that there were 103 cases that had to be carefully investigated and reported upon before proceedings were instructed. He should further keep in view that cases can only be disposed of when Judges are able to find time for their disposal. I can assure him, taking the whole of the facts into consideration in the present cases, that there has been no delay of any kind.
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there is a good deal of feeling in the matter and that the poorest people were proceeded against in some cases a month ago? In the case of more prominent Members, all this delay takes place while the very poorest people are proceeded against at once.
My hon. Friend is quite misinformed as to the facts. There has been no discrimination of any kind, except that in order that the electoral activities of certain people might not be interfered with, I directed that their cases might stand over until the election was over.