§ 62. Mr. Rhys Davies
asked the Home Secretary on how many occasions George Elphick, 66, Priory Street, Lewes, a registered conscientious objector, has appeared at Lewes Police Court for refusing fireguard duty; how many times he has been prosecuted and with what results; on whom the cost of these prosecutions falls; how many times the Regional Commissioner has suggested to the Lewes Town Council to take no further proceedings against him; and what was the result of such representations?
§ Mr. H. Morrison
This man has been before the magistrates six times and was convicted on each of the first five occasions. The cost of these proceedings falls on the local authority. The Regional Commissioner wrote to the town council in October, 1942, deprecating repeated prosecutions in this case, but the local authority decided nevertheless to exercise their power under the Defence Regulations to institute further proceedings.
§ Mr. Davies
Is it not possible for the right hon. Gentleman to intervene with the local authority, in a way which I feel sure he can, and to ask them to abandon all these prosecutions and to save public money thereby?
§ Mr. Morrison
I certainly should not be prepared to intervene with a view to their abandoning all these prosecutions, but in this case the Regional Commissioner did put a point of view to the local authority, and they did not accept it.
§ Mr. Silverman
If, in the opinion of the Director of Public Prosecutions, these repeated prosecutions are undesirable and if, nevertheless, they take place, will not the right hon. Gentleman consider some method of amending the Regulations so that undesirable prosecutions shall not take place?
§ Mr. Morrison
I have carefully considered the question, but there are great difficulties about it, and I think that we must let it run as it is.