asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many persons stood trial for murder in Scotland in the last full year before, and in the first full year after, the introduction of the Homicide Act, 1957; and what the figures were for 1964 and 1965.
Although there is no evidence from these figures to show the effect of the abolition of the capital sentence, can the right hon. Gentleman say that he is watching any trend with great care and with an open mind?
Yes, indeed. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the Act came into operation only on 9th November and has a five-year period. He is quite right to say that there is no evidence from these figures, because if he had selected some other years he would have found that in 1962, for example, the figure was 24. There is a fluctuation which does not give us any evidence of a trend.