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Volume 203: debated on Friday 22 July 1870

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said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to a report in the newspapers of a case tried before the Magistrates at Kirton Lindsey Quarter Sessions, where one Joseph Townsend was charged with being "an incorrigible rogue," and was sentenced to three months' imprisonment and to receive thirty-six lashes with the cat; and, if he will state what specific offence was proved against this man, and whether, in his opinion, the Magistrates did or did not exceed their powers?

said, in reply, that the facts of this case were these — Joseph Townsend was 44 years of age, and on the 1st of July he appeared before the quarter sessions at Kirton Lindsey, and received, under 5 Geo. IV. c. 83, the sentence stated by the hon. Member. He had been supplied with a list of the offences of this man as follows: — 18th March, 1865, convicted as an incorrigible vagabond, and sentenced to one month's imprisonment; in July of the same year convicted of vagrancy, and sentenced to 14 days' imprisonment; in March, 1868, again convicted and sentenced to 21 days' imprisonment; in June, 1868, again convicted, and received one month; in 1869 again convicted, and sentenced to 21 days; in November, 1869, again convicted, and received one month; again in December of that year, and received 21 days; again on the 8th January, 1870, and received three months; and, lastly, the conviction in July, and the sentence of three months' imprisonment and 24 (not 36) lashes from the cat of nine-tails. The sentence was inflicted under 5 Geo. IV., s. 10, and under the circumstances he thought that the specific offences had been proved, and that the magistrates had not exceeded the powers conferred upon them by the law.