§ MR. LYELL
asked the Lord Advocate, Whether the recent prosecution of the 1514 Rev. Mathew Armour, at Kirkwall, was undertaken after communication with the Crown Office, or on the sole responsibility of the Procurator Fiscal of Orkney; whether the Procurator Fiscal of Orkney, in addition to his official duties, acts as law agent to a number of Conservative landed proprietors in the county; and, whether the Procurator Fiscal in question is the same official whose proceedings in connection with a case arising out of a threatening letter received by General Burroughs was last year brought before this House?
MR. MACDONALD CAMERON
asked the Lord Advocate, If his attention has been called to a report in The Orkney Herald of the 23rd of December last, where it was stated that seven men were accused before Sheriff Thorns of so-called rioting at the late General Election, and that one of these men was sent to prison for a period of 10 days without the option of a fine, although he did nothing at the riots except appear as one of the crowd; and, whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman would inquire into the administration of justice in Kirkwall?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. B. BALFOUR)
, in reply, said, that the recent prosecution of the Rev. Mr. Armour was undertaken without communication with the Crown Office. Various riots occurred at the time of the election, and the Sheriff Principal of the county, Mr. Thorns, personally investigated and disposed of several of the cases; but before all of them were inquired into he had to leave for Caithness, where there had been a number of incendiary fires; and he directed the Sheriff Substitute—Mr. Menzies—along with the Procurator Fiscal and Sheriff Clerk, to make the necessary investigation in regard to rioting at Sanday. As the result of the investigation, the Sheriff Substitute directed that certain persons should be tried for rioting, and that the Rev. Mr. Armour should be charged on a charge of breach of the peace. These directions were carried out by the Procurator Fiscal, who, in addition to his official duties, acts as law agents for sundry landlords and proprietors, some of whom are Conservatives, and some of whom are Liberal. The Procurator Fiscal is the same official who acted along with and under the direction of Sheriff Thoms in investigation of the case of a threaten- 1515 ing letter received by General Burroughs —an act which, was brought under the notice of the House. In reference to the second Question by the hon. Member for the Wick Burghs, he was aware that there was a riot that took place at Kirkwall, and there were certain convictions; and he was under the impression that an appeal was made to the late Secretary of State for the Home Department to remit some of the sentences, and that the right hon. Gentleman did not see cause to do so. He was not aware of the particulars of these cases; but if Notice were given he would make inquiries. He knew generally, however, that there was a good deal of rioting at that election, and that the Sheriff, who was responsible for the peace of the county, took himself the superintendence of the investigations until he was obliged to go to Caithness in regard to the incendiary fires.
§ MR. J. B. BALFOUR
If there is anything more my hon. Friend desires, I shall be very glad to get the necessary information.
MR. MACDONALD CAMERON
It is not in regard to that——["Order, order!"] You have not answered the Question.
Can the Lord Advocate, at his convenience, state to the House what were the expenses connected with the Sanday riots?