§ MR. ROWNTREE (Scarborough)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been drawn to a statement made by George Thorp, one of the clerks to the Manchester Justices, in the case of "M'Ewan v. Justices of Manchester," reported in the Manchester Guardian, 11th November, 1890, as follows:—I may say that I see scores of these little bogus documents produced at each Court.The documents referred to being those which the police obtain from each person who applies for a licence under the Intoxicating Liquor Acts, and which are duly sworn to; and also to a letter from the Chief Constable of Manchester, dated 1067 the 11th February, 1891, and published in the local Press, in which he states—These documents contain information regarding the ownership, and various interests which the applicant may have in the premises for which he applies for a licence or transfer, and such information is only contained in the agreements between the applicant and the brewer or owner of the premises. … I have little doubt that in many cases the answers are untrue, but it would be quite impossible for the police to prove them to be so;and if he will inquire into the state of affairs so described, in order, if the statements are true, to provide means to check such abuses?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS, Birmingham, E.)
I have had my attention drawn to the statements referred to. It appears that the Manchester Justices are accustomed to require from applicants for licences answers upon oath to a variety of questions which they consider material for their judgment. The clerk to the Justices and the Chief Constable are both of opinion that in many cases untrue answers are given, but that it would be quite impossible to prove them to be so, as no evidence whatever is forthcoming. It is not possible for me, or for the Director of Public Prosecutions, to procure evidence in such cases; and it is for the Justices to insist on the production of further witnesses or to make further inquiries, or to refuse the application in any case in which they think they are being misled.