National Service Direction (Prosecution).

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland. – in the House of Commons on 3rd February 1942.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

asked the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that a partial cripple, Hugh Grosset, of Kelty, Fife, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment at the Dunfermline Sheriff's Court for refusing to return to work at the coal face; that two medical men and his trade union secretary supported him in his plea that he was unfit for such work; and who was responsible for initiating this prosecution?

Photo of Mr James Reid Mr James Reid , Glasgow Hillhead

Mr. Grosset was charged and convicted of having failed to comply with a direction of a National Service Officer to take up work as a stripper and machine-man, and was sentenced by the sheriff substitute at Dunfermline to 14 days' imprisonment. The prosecution was initiated by the procurator-fiscal at Dunfermline. I have considered the case and am satisfied that the procurator-fiscal acted properly in taking proceedings. The evidence referred to in the Question was put before the local appeal board which, after considering the whole evidence, advised that the man was fit for work.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Who had jurisdiction, and who decided that this man was guilty of an offence?

Photo of Mr James Reid Mr James Reid , Glasgow Hillhead

The sheriff substitute, when the case came before him, held—and I have no reason to disagree with his view—that he was bound by the decision of the National Service Officer as advised by the local appeal board. Accordingly it was the local appeal board who really decided that the man was fit for work.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Are we to understand that the local appeal board decided that the man was guilty and then directed the sheriff and the court to pass sentence?

Photo of Mr James Reid Mr James Reid , Glasgow Hillhead

No, the sheriff was entitled to consider all other matters in connection with the case, and he said that he took into account the man's explanation and imposed a smaller sentence than he would otherwise have done.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.