THE Procurator Fiscal for the Lower Ward of Lanarkshire was born in Glasgow in the forties, and was educated at the Southern Collegiate and High Schools and at Glasgow University, attending the arts and Law Classes in the old college in High Street. He learned the commercial law and court practice part of his profession in the office of Messrs. Smith & Wright, now Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie, and the conveyancing part in the office of Messrs. Mitchell, Allardyce & Mitchell, now Mitchells, Johnston & Co. In 1868 he became a member of the Faculty of Procurators, and entered the office of his father, Mr. William Hart, and Mr. John Gemmel, then Procurators Fiscal for the Lower Ward, as an assistant. Two years later he received from the late Sheriff Glassford Bell a commission as Assistant Procurator Fiscal, which was renewed by Sheriff Dickson. In 1877 he was appointed a Depute Procurator Fiscal by Procurator Fiscal Brown, the appointment being approved by the Lord Advocate, and in 1883, on the resignation of Mr. Brown, he was appointed Procurator Fiscal by the late Sheriff Clark, and confirmed in the office by the Home Secretary, Sir W. Vernon Harcourt.
    The duties of the Procurator Fiscal are many and varied. Besides investigating and prosecuting in all criminal cases in the Sheriff Court, and preparing cases for the High Court of Justiciary, he is Coroner of his district, and investigates all sudden and suspicious deaths, serious accidents, and fires where valuable property is destroyed, and many other matters.
    In the first year of his appointment Mr. Hart had to conduct two very important cases - the enquiry into the circumstances of the Daphne launch disaster on the Clyde, and the preparation of the evidence for the trial of the Glasgow dynamitards. In the latter case the ten persons indicted were all convicted, and received sentence. Some idea of the responsibility of Mr. Hart's position may be gathered from the fact that the Lower Ward of Lanarkshire contains an estimated population of 1,027,257, and that its valued rental is £6,841,897. By way of illustrating the extent of his jurisdiction it may be mentioned that he had to investigate and prosecute in the case of scuttling of a ship off Land's End, and on another occasion to enquire into the loss of a ship and crew on the West Coast of Ireland.
    Mr. Hart's recreations, when he can get them, are walking and a little photography.

Back to Index of Glasgow Men (1909)