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proved unfounded or rash, he must not admit it. If, lastly, a link in the chain of evidence is required he feels forced to supply it.
For no mistake must he make, or instant report to the Commissioners at Scotland Yard will follow, and he will undergo a court martial before military men who brook no excuse.
The scheme of the Commissioners is shortly, ist, that there should be a chief public prosecutor with an adequate staff in London, and the means of obtaining legal advice. No suggestion whatever is made that he shall be a barrister or solicitor, or that he should have had any special training for his office. Although he is not to change with the Ministry, he is to be liable to be dismissed at pleasure by the Secretary of State for the Home Department. We much fear that unless he is to hold the appointment during good behaviour, no suitable person of attainments will be induced to accept the office. The insinuation that he should have to seek legal advice is ominous in the last degree. No one but an experienced legal man can be capable of satisfactorily fulfilling the duties which will be incumbent on the office.
2nd. That the Public Prosecutors in the Metropolitan district should be attached to the office of the Chief Public Prosecutor, and their services available in the district.
3rd. That the rest of England and Wales be divided into districts, in each of which there should be a sufficient number of resident or Local Public Prosecutors, subordinate and under the control of the Chief Public Prosecutor.
Between these local public prosecutors there is to be a class called Local Head Public Prosecutors to whom the former may apply for advice. In places where the population is not dense the Commissioners consider it would be advisable to make each district conterminal with the petty sessional division, within which one local public prosecutor would be sufficient. They proceed to recommend, that the local public prosecutor in country districts should be the clerk to the justices, and that he should be at liberty to hold other civil situations and to practice in civil matters. The remuneration of these officers is to be made by salary, not in fees.
Local Public Prosecutors are not to take up the prosecution until after the committal by the magistrates, unless otherwise directed by the Chief Public Prosecutor. The Report proceeds thus: “it should be the duty of the magistrate and of the police in any district to call the attention of the chief public prosecutors or his substitute to any case which in his opinion may be fit to be so taken up,” i.e. to take the case up at any stage. We are here at a loss to understand whose opinion is referred to. If "the Chief Public Prosecutor or his substitute," then how is he to form an until his attention has been called to the case ? and if “the magistrate” and “the police” are referred to, we scarcely know which to object to most strongly, the grammatical construction of the clause, or its substance, making the magisstrate and the police the machinery by which the law is to be placed in motion. “ It is, as it strikes me," says the Lord Chief Justice, “scarcely consistent with the proper administration of justice in criminal cases, that the police, whose proper functions are to prevent and detect crime, and to apprehend offenders, should be entrusted with the duty of getting up prosecutions ;” far less consistent is it for the magistrate, to whom the accused has to look for an impartial hearing, to have the responsibility of having in any manner originated the prosecution.
It is at once apparent that, should the above recommendations be carried out in the Bill of next Session, but little alteration would be effected in the present conduct of cases. As no provision is made in the scheme for instructing counsel at the Sessions other than at present exist, the evils consequent on the prosecution, emanating from the clerks to local justices, would not be lessened by the delay, while communications are being made to the head office. No system can answer in this country which shall not place in the hands of well-qualified responsible gentlemen-barristers or attorneys—the charge of certain defined districts. As the whole of their time should be devoted to the office it would be impracticable for them to be the clerks of petty sessional
divisions. As far fewer gentlemen would have to be employed, the expense need not be greater. This position is taken by the Lord Chief Justice, who concurs in recommending the divisions of the country into districts, but entirely dissents from their proposed formation. In his opinion the area of the country under the charge of the chief public prosecutor should be composed of certain definite districts, each presided over by a public prosecutor, who should be a barrister or solicitor of standing, and required to devote the whole of his time to the office. With him the police, as soon as a crime is known to have been committed, or person suspected of crime apprehended, are to communicate, and the magistrates' clerks are to be required to forward him a copy of the depositions, on commital of the accused by the magistrate.
It is on the portion of the proposed Public Prosecutors' scheme that more immediately affects the police in the conduct of the case prior to its coming into court, that we consider the Report the most weak and undecided. The Lord Chief Justice, as usual, shows his superior appreciation of the requirements not only of the police in bringing the offender to justice, but also for the protection of the subject. Still the Commissioners in the early part of their report admit "there are cases in which it is desirable to have on the spot the intervention of a person of superior skill and intelligence at the beginning, to test the accuracy of the conclusions drawn by the police from circumstances, suggest further inquiries, and, in short, conduct himself as an intelligent attorney charged with the getting up a civil cause for trial usually does. To be effectual, however, the intervention should be early, for many of the little circumstances which are of importance in fixing suspicion on the right person are soon forgotten or lost sight of.” The italics are ours, but the words are those of the Report. The subsequent recommendation in the portion of the Report dealing with the details of the proposed scheme, however, is, that "the general direction to all local public prosecutors should be to take up the
prosecution of all cases (not falling within the class which shall be defined as those which shall not be taken up without special directions) on the committal by the magistrate, or on the finding of a grand jury without any directions; and to report to the chief public prosecutor any cases in which there has been a committal for a crime falling within that class, and to take it up, or not, according to the directions he may receive. It ought, however, to be within their functions, and part of their duty, to give advice to the police of their district, when applied to at all stages of any prosecu. tions.” This is to us the worst feature of the Report, and shows that, notwithstanding the apparent promise of better things to come in their opening, the majority of the Commissioners have failed to appreciate the anomalous state of criminal prosecution as well as its characteristics which distinguish the liabilities of the parties from those in a civil cause. This is, perhaps, the only country where its institutions seem to say, that crime is greater against the individual than against the State. What we contend is that any system of public prosecution, which does not remove the supposed sole right of an individual to institute a prosecution, from him to the State, and that, without any reservation, will prove utterly futile, effete, and nugatory. It is a disgrace to a civilized country that crimes of the deepest dye, of the most disgusting nature, of debasing example, should be permitted from the dilatoriness, meanness, inability, dislike of publicity, or what not of him who is now the prosecutor, to remain uninvestigated and unpunished. On the one hand the private prosecutor may not have the wish to have the case investigated, for reasons best known to himself, and, on the other, it is eminently unfair and unjust, to require him to place himself in the position of a common informer, and to request him to undertake the enormous expense, and incalculable loss of time, that the conduct of a criminal case, through its preliminary enquiries to its final verdict entails.
Let us take a case where, through the instrumentality of our Detective Force, (apparently kept for the purpose), we
have induced the unwilling aggrieved party to undertake the prosecution, to give the offender into custody, to instruct an attorney to conduct the proceedings at the Police Court or Petty Sessions, and to aid the police in their enquiries, so that the magistrate commits the case, with proofs clear and decisive of the offender's guilt to trial at the Sessions. How well would the country be repaid for the expenditure of public time, when the prosecutor finds it to be worth his while, as is not infrequently the case, to forfeit his recognizance rather than undergo a second time the harass and worry he has experienced. Yet under the new scheme, this will be left much the same as now.
And after the State has been put to the expense of getting up the case, and of preparing proofs, no guarantee is provided that the prosecutor shall not thwart the ends of justice by refusing to prosecute.
VI.-THE LAWS THAT REGULATE LONDON.
By Mr. SERJEANT PULLING.
ORD COKE remarked, two hundred and sixty years ago,
that to treat of the laws and customs of London would require a whole volume of itself. At this day it is difficult to count the volumes in which are contained the various laws and regulations specially affecting London. It would certainly be an endless task to enumerate the varying, and often conflicting, provisions by which the London of our time is governed. Parcelled out under twenty different systems for the professed purposes of local government, into districts of all shapes and sizes, as the occasion of the hour suggested, London has for each separate object a different set of districts, divisions, and subdivisions. A Map of London,