New Clause. — (Penalty for Defacement of Marks.)

Orders of the Day — Fireworks Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th May 1951.

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If any person in the course of a trade or business sells, or offers or exposes for sale, any fireworks and a name or address put on them in pursuance of section (Marking of fireworks) of this Act has been removed, obliterated or altered, he shall on summary conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty-five pounds: Provided that it shall be a defence—

  1. (a) to prove that the removal, obliteration or alteration was such as the defendant could not have reasonably been expected to observe; or
  2. (b) in the case of fireworks which at the time of the alleged offence were in a container, to prove that the container had not been opened since it came into the possession of the defendant; or
  3. (c) to prove that the removal, obliteration or alteration was not carried out for the purpose of concealing the identity of the maker, or, as the case may be, of the importer, of the fireworks.—[Mr. Moyle.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Mr Arthur Moyle Mr Arthur Moyle , Oldbury and Halesowen

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The proposed new Clause provides penalties for defacement of the markings which were provided for in the Clause to which we have just agreed. It applies not only to the manufacturer but to others concerned in the sale of fireworks. Appropriate penalties are provided. It gives reputable firms an opportunity for some defence in respect of fireworks which sometimes appear on the market not through the regular channels of commerce but through questionable mediums. The Clause provides reasonable grounds for defence by the manufacturer or the salesman. While every care may be taken by the manufacturer or the salesman and the fireworks made with all the care in the world, they may be concerned in a transaction in which others may be dangerous. It is not the wish of the promoters of the Bill that reputable tradesmen or manufacturers with a long record of good service behind them should be unduly penalised as result of some unwitting circumstance unknown to them.

Surgeon Lieut.-Commander Bennett:

I beg to second the Motion.

Though the penalties in the Clause are substantial, there are on the other hand certain safeguards because the tradesman has the defence that he is not responsible for accidental damage through the fireworks having become wet or abraded in transport and he is also safeguarded if it is clear that any obliteration of markings has not been with any criminal intent or for the purpose of covering one of the maleficent firms who have been making bogus fireworks. Even though the penalties are severe, I feel that little exception can be taken to the Clause.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.