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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

Ignoring the Report

Ignoring the Report.

To the credit of the Commissioners be it said that they definite in their recommendation that "the claimant," as they love to call him, should be cleared of the criminal stigma. They propose that either a free pardon should be granted to Meikle-it is surely time that the farce of pardoning people page 36 whose pardon we should be asking for wrongly convicting them was abolished—or that, as suggested by the Adolph Beck Committee, "the simpler remedy should be Adopted of quashing the conviction on motion by the Attorney-General and entering an acquittal as of record." For the latter course legislation would be necessary, and "such legislation should be general in its terms," say the Commissioners," and should by no means be limited to the case of the claimant. It is impossible to resist a smile on seeing Ministers and Parliament engaged with a Meikle Acquittal Bill by way of currying out this emphatic recommendation of a general measure That the rest of the Commissioners' report will be ignore goes without saying, for nothing else could be done with it by a people of common-sense and self-respect. Recommendations, indeed, there are none on the subject of compensation for they have not yet made up their minds whether such a right exists in any case where neither misconduct nontechnical error can be imputed to a Judge, policeman, or other official. If they have not convinced themselves by their pages of see-saw reasoning on the subject, they certainly will not either convince or unsettle anybody else. It is positively ludicrous to see the learned Commissioners grappling labouriously, but vainly, with a simple moral issue by means of this forensic casuistry which is so dear to the heart of the lawyer so cramping to his intellect, and so paralysing to his conscience.