§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Sir William Mitchell-Thomson)
The reply to the first part of the question is in the negative. After full consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the admission of a third party to these interviews would be of no assistance to an innocent person, while it would seriously hamper the purpose of the inquiry in the case of a guilty one. I understand it is not, as a rule, 244 allowed by the police in similar circumstances.
§ Mr. AMMON
Has the right hon. Gentleman had his attention called to the fact that within Lie past few weeks Sir Ernest Wild, Recorder of the City of London, Mr. Justice Greer, sitting at the Glamorgan Assizes, and the Presiding Judge at Lancaster Assizes, condemned the attitude and methods of the Post Office Investigation Department, and would not this proposal go a long way to prevent these criticisms? May I also ask the right hon. Gentleman if it is not the fact that the man brought before the Glamorgan Assizes was discharged, and that if a third party had been there, the ordeal he went through would have been prevented?
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I have had my attention called to the observations to which the hon. Member alludes, and I do not accept his description of them. I would point out that the only alternative to the procedure of inquiry by the Department is the procedure of inquiry by the police, and I do not think that alternative would be welcomed by the Post Office staff.