§ 43. Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
asked the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that in summary cases it is the practice of procurators-fiscal to refuse to give the defence the names and addresses of witnesses for the Crown; whether he appreciates the hardship thereby imposed on the accused; and whether he will give instructions that procurators-fiscal should furnish such information when required by the defence?
§ The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. T. M. Cooper)
In cases tried on indictment provision is made by Statute for the mutual exchange of particulars regarding witnesses proposed to be examined for the prosecution and the defence. No such provision is made as regards summary proceedings. It is, however, the practice for the names of witnesses for the Crown to be furnished to the defence in cases arising out of motor accidents and in any other case in which Crown Counsel consider that it is reasonable that such information should be supplied. The whole question has been frequently considered by the Law Officers for Scotland and I see no reason to depart from the present practice.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
Is the Lord Advocate aware that grave hardship is inflicted, and that this refusal, except in the cases he has mentioned, is universal?
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
I am not aware that any grave hardship is inflicted by this rule, and I would remind the hon. Member that if an attempt is made to import into summary proceedings the whole machinery of indictment they would cease to be summary. I can assure the hon. Member that by the administrative action I have indicated in my answer every endeavour is being made to ensure that no cause for complaint arises.