§ MR. WHALLEY
asked the Secretary to the Treasury, with reference to a 1074 statement in the public journals to which his attention has been called, that for the year 1873–4, being the year closing the Tichborne prosecution, there was an excess of £484,226 in Crown legal expenses above the average of preceding years, and that such excess represents more or less the costs incurred by the Government in that prosecution; Whether he will afford the necessary facilities for examining the accounts of Crown legal expenses, with a view to ascertain the nature of the costs so incurred by the Government for that year; whether it is the fact, as stated in letters addressed by the honourable Gentleman, or by his orders, to the National Tichborne Release Association, that the sum of £60,000, or thereabouts, covers all the expenses of the Government in respect of the said prosecution; and, whether he will afford facilities for an examination of such expenditure, with a view to ascertain how much of this sum was paid to or on account of witnesses who, though subpoenaed or retained on the part of the Crown, were not called upon to give evidence?
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
I have seen the statement to which the hon. Gentleman refers; but it is so utterly groundless, so entirely without a shadow of foundation of any kind, that I have not thought it necessary to take the slightest notice of it. I think the House will agree with me, that when statements without foundation are thus made, it hardly becomes the dignity of the House of Commons, or officers of the Government, to volunteer statements in denial of them. It is not desirable that so much honour should be done them. Then the hon. Gentleman asks if Iwill afford the necessary facilities for examining the accounts of Crown legal expenses with a view to ascertain the nature of the costs so incurred by the Government for that year.In answer to that, I must say I do not think it necessary, for these accounts have been examined by the Controller and Auditor General and have been reported upon to the House in the Appropriation accounts. The actual expenses for Crown prosecutions, apart from the expenses of the Solicitor to the Treasury, were in 1871–2, £21,165; in 1872–3, £19,102; in 1873–4, £66,259; and in 1874–5, £18,930. The year 1873–4 included the greater part of the cost of the Tichborne prosecution. In reply to 1075 another part of the Question of the hon. Member, I did state in this House in August, 1875, that £60,000 was the cost of the prosecution, and that is the cost of the prosecution within a pound or two, the actual figures being £60,074 19s. 11d. I am further asked whether I will afford facilities for an examination of this expenditure? I trust the hon. Member will be satisfied that such an examination as this House deems to be necessary for the security of the public money has been made, and that no further examination is required.
§ MR. WHALLEY
gave Notice that on going into Committee of Supply he would call attention to the Answer of the hon. Gentleman.