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Clause 37—(Right Of Appeal From Decision Of Court Of Summary Jurisdiction)

Volume 65: debated on Monday 20 July 1914

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Any person aggrieved by any conviction of a Court of Summary Jurisdiction in respect of any offence who did not plead guilty or admit the truth of the information may appeal from the conviction in manner provided by the Summary Jurisdiction Acts to a Court of Quarter Sessions.

I beg to move to leave out the words "Any person."

I do so pro forma to raise the question of the application of the Clause to Ireland. From this very useful Clause, as I understand it, we, in the Clause dealing with Ireland, are expressly excluded. I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman the reason for that. The Attorney-General for Ireland, now the Lord Chief Justice, some five or six years ago, as I understood him at the time, declared that at the earliest moment the Government were willing to assimilate the law of Ireland to the law of England in this matter. Unless a man who gets fined 40s. and costs or a month's imprisonment there is no appeal whatever in Ireland against the sentence of the magistrate. I am not taking any exception to this particular Clause, but I would ask the Government to consider the matter. If we turn to Clause 43 we will find that in the application of this Act to Ireland the number of Sections applied goes down to Section 28. I do not find that Section 37 is applied. Therefore, I think that I am not out of order at this stage—when we come prepared that this Clause should be applied to Ireland—to ask the Government for a declaration that they may make good.

I am sorry that I have not the advantage of a legal adviser as to the law in Ireland to assist me at this stage of the Bill. I would, however, remind the hon. and learned Gentleman that this Clause was inserted in Committee upstairs as a new Clause and after we had passed Clause 43. Consequently, whether its omission from Clause 43 is by action or intention, in the absence of my legal Irish advisers, I am not able to say. If it was an accident and I am not advised before we reach Clause 43, I shall certainly see about it in another place. If it were omitted by design I hope the hon. and learned Gentleman will appreciate that I must be advised by some Irish expert as to the grounds upon which this Clause was by design omitted from Section 43.

I accept the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman. I know he is quite anxious that this matter should be put right, if possible. When we come to the Clause I shall certainly move the application of this Clause to Ireland. The fact that you have no appeal in Ireland when you have one in England and Scotland is absurd.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move, after the word "conviction" ["aggrieved by any conviction of a Court"], to insert the words "or order."

I called attention on the first four Clauses of this Bill to the fact that at one time the expression "conviction" was used and at another the words "order of the Court." I cannot think that that was undesignedly done. The same thing seems to be happening here again. In Ireland, for instance, we have not the word "conviction" at all; it is simply "an order of Petty Sessions"; and outside Dublin, so far as I know, there is nothing corresponding to the word "conviction." The thing is likely to cause confusion unless the Clause is made perfectly clear.

I think it is a very humiliating thing to see a man or a woman brought before a bench of magistrates for a supposed offence and he or she refuses to give bail. Perhaps the refusal to give bail has been made in the heat or passion of the moment. Afterwards, when the person gets to gaol, he would like, perhaps, to get out, but his pride is offended or he does not care to give bail. I think the words "or order" ought to be inserted after "conviction," so as to make it clear the entire machinery of magisterial orders or convictions shall be affiliated.

I think the words "or order" are far too wide. I do not think I could go further at the moment than to say that the point will be considered. If it is found possible to find some form of words—and we shall be glad for the hon. and learned Gentleman to assist us in arriving at that form—we shall insert them, but they must be nearer to the intention of the Clause than the words proposed.

I am willing to accept the assurance of the hon. Gentleman, and I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move, at end of the Clause, to add—

"(2) An appeal shall lie from any order made by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction under the enactments relating to bastardy, or from any refusal by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction to make such an order, or from the revocation or revival by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction of such an order; and notice of any such appeal may be given at any time within one month from the date on which the decision appealed from was given."
I understand that the Home Secretary will accept this Amendment.

Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to.